In Advance of NATO and Trump-Putin Summits, Bipartisan Group of Senators Reiterate Importance of Continuing Sanctions on Russia for Invading Crimea

July 10, 2018 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today led a group of eight of their Senate colleagues in introducing a Senate resolution condemning the Russian Federation’s ongoing illegal occupation of Crimea. The bipartisan resolution comes ahead of President Trump’s scheduled trip to Europe, where he will attend a NATO Summit in Brussels as well as meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. 

Affirming the Senate’s full support for the sanctions the United States and the European Union have imposed against Russia for its illegal occupation of Ukrainian territory, the senators’ resolution calls on the Trump administration to formalize a policy of non-recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. The United States adopted a firm non-recognition policy during the Cold War with the Welles Declaration, which condemned the forced annexation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union.   

“The United States continues to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression,” said Portman.Crimea was illegally seized from Ukraine by Russia, and the United States must never recognize this illegitimate occupation. This violates not just the rights of the Ukrainian people, but also the fundamental principles of the international order that America has proudly led for more than 70 years. Crimea is part of Ukraine. Until Russia recognizes that fact and returns Crimea to Ukrainian control, the United States must maintain sanctions on Russia.” 

“As President Trump embarks on an increasingly delicate trip, we are introducing this resolution to reaffirm a unified and enduring opposition to Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea. Our country should never recognize this aggression and should increase sanctions on Russia until Crimea is returned to Ukrainian control,” said Senator Menendez, who himself was personally sanctioned by Putin for his continuing efforts to hold the Russian president accountable for his actions. “The American people and our allies expect the President to fully defend our democracy and our national security; that includes support for our friends in Ukraine who strive simply for their sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.” 

The Portman-Menendez resolution was co-sponsored by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA); Dick Durbin (D-IL.); Marco Rubio (R-FL); Chris Coons (D-DE); Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Ed Markey (D-MA.); Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). 

A copy of the Senator’s resolution can be found HERE.