Heeding Bipartisan Calls Led by Portman and Shaheen, Biden Appoints Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator

Senators Portman, Shaheen, Wicker & Durbin called on the Administration Earlier this Month to Establish the Coordinator Position

April 21, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statements on President Biden’s appointment of retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Terry Wolff to serve as the Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator, following bipartisan calls led by Senators Portman, Shaheen, Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) to designate a senior official to fill such a role. Earlier this month, the senators sent a letter to the President, encouraging him to appoint a Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator to help synchronize efforts within the U.S. government and to improve response time in sending aid to Europe amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I’m pleased that the White House has listened to bipartisan calls and is appointing a Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator to help us expedite military assistance to Ukraine.  While Ukraine has taken important steps to regain control of their country, the fight is not over – Russia’s renewed offensive continues to represent an existential threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, and it is essential the U.S. is able to move quickly to cut the red tape, synchronize our efforts across the interagency, and provide Ukraine with the tools necessary to win this war,” said Portman. “Together with Senators Shaheen, Wicker, and Durbin, I called on the Biden administration to bring on a Coordinator to do just this and I am glad that the administration has headed that call. As the U.S. continues to send a historic amount of assistance to our ally Ukraine, we’ve seen the importance of doing so in a swift and decisive manner and this move today with allow us to do just that.”

“Streamlined logistics and swift delivery of weapons are critical in war, which is why appointing a Ukraine Security Assistance Coordinator is fundamental to our ongoing effort to supply Ukraine with the military assistance it needs to hold off Putin’s forces. Every moment matters for the Ukrainian armed forces, so I appreciate the President’s attention to my bipartisan call with Senators Portman, Durbin and Wicker to designate this urgently needed position. Furthermore, I am encouraged by the message this designation sends regarding U.S. leadership to organize security assistance efforts with respect to our NATO allies, who continue to provide vast amounts of security assistance to Ukraine. Supplying military assistance to Ukraine has been and must remain a national security priority, so ensuring clear communication and swift delivery is fundamental to that mission,” said Shaheen.

As Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Senator Portman has led efforts in Congress to provide Ukraine with lethal aid, economic assistance and humanitarian aid during Russia’s ongoing invasion. He and Senator Shaheen led a bipartisan group of senators in a visit to Ukraine in January before the war began to meet with President Zelenskyy and express their solidarity with the people of Ukraine. In early March, Senator Portman traveled to Poland with a bipartisan group of colleagues to meet with Polish officials, visit refugee sites and reaffirm the U.S.’ commitment to Poland, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. Recently the Ukraine Caucus met with four members of the Ukraine’s Parliament, as known as Rada, and Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova to discuss what more can be done to help Ukraine. In February, Portman and Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Portman also supported the inclusion of $13.6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine in the FY 2022 bipartisan funding bill, which was signed into law in March.