Portman, Bipartisan Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Provide Assistance, Support for Ukraine

July 30, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, joined U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) to introduce the bipartisan Ukraine Security Partnership Act to provide security assistance and strategic support to Ukraine.

“I’m pleased to introduce this legislation which sends a clear message that America stands with the Ukrainian people in their struggle to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future in the face of Russian aggression,” said Portman. “Our relationship with Ukraine is strategic and this bill makes clear statements regarding a whole of government strategy focused on enhancing all elements of Ukrainian security. The United States Congress will continue to make sure the Ukrainian military has the capabilities it needs to defend its sovereign territory—on the land, sea, and air. As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, I will continue to lead efforts in the Senate to ensure the Ukrainians have the equipment, resources and capabilities they need to defend themselves against Russian aggression.”  

“The Russian Federation’s disregard for international laws and commitments is no better demonstrated than by its illegal seizure of Crimea in 2014 and the six years of covert military support for eastern Ukrainian separatists,” said Risch. “Despite these challenges, Ukraine has stood as a bulwark against the Russian Federation’s malign influence in Europe and a steadfast partner of the United States. This legislation demonstrates to Ukraine, and to Russia, that the United States will stand by its friend throughout its democratic transition and in defense of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. This bill will strengthen Ukraine’s defenses through military training and equipment and enhanced U.S. and European diplomatic support.”

“Six years following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine remains under daily assault on the ground, on the seas and in cyberspace. Ukrainian servicemembers have selflessly and courageously fought Russian forces that seek to violate its sovereignty and disrupt the international order,” said Menendez. “The U.S. is Ukraine’s strongest supporter, but its security needs continue to grow under relentless pressure from Moscow. The bipartisan Ukraine Security Partnership Act will address these challenges by substantially increasing long-term security assistance for our partners in Ukraine while ensuring accountability from their democratic institutions. U.S. security assistance for the people of Ukraine is the right thing to do. It helps to advance our values and is in the national security interests of the United States. This bill shows that our commitment to Ukraine’s security should be unwavering and shielded from politics. And I look forward to working to build support for this critical legislation in the Senate.”

“It’s been a rough year for the U.S.-Ukraine relationship but with every challenge, comes opportunity. Strong, bipartisan support remains for our relationship with Ukraine and it’s clear Congress recognizes the strategic value of the partnership,” said Murphy. “The Ukraine Security Partnership Act gets the U.S.-Ukraine relationship back on track by increasing our security assistance for Kyiv as the United States continues to support their steps towards political reform and helps counter Russian aggression abroad. Trump tried to weaponize our relationship with President Zelensky, but this bill makes clear that we won’t let the president play personal politics with U.S. national security and our foreign policy interests.”

“The Ukrainian people need every available resource to fight back against Russian aggression. We stand with Ukraine as they defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their nation,” said Barrasso. “Our bipartisan legislation provides Ukraine with key military and diplomatic resources to help secure a peaceful, democratic future for their country. The United States is committed to fully supporting our strong partner, Ukraine.” 

“Supporting Ukraine against the Kremlin’s aggression is a critical U.S. national security priority and important for global stability,” said Shaheen. “This bipartisan legislation provides urgently needed security assistance to Ukraine to defend its sovereignty, and helps ensure Ukraine‘s commitment to reform and democracy. The Kremlin’s malign behavior against the U.S. and our transatlantic partners continues unabated, which is why ensuring our partners in the region have the ability to counter this aggression on the frontlines is so critical."

Key provisions of the senators’ legislation:

  • Requires a report on U.S. diplomatic support for Ukraine over the next five years.
  • Encourages the Department of State to establish a working group on Ukraine with relevant European allies.
  • Requires the administration to appoint a special envoy for Ukraine to serve as the U.S. liaison for the Normandy Format peace negotiations and to facilitate dialogue between Black Sea countries.
  • Authorizes up to $300 million per year of foreign military financing to Ukraine, subject to certifications, including the authority to provide Ukraine with lethal military assistance.
  • Requires a Department of Defense and State Department report on the capability and capacity requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces, a plan to supply U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, and any recommendations.
  • Expedites the transfer of excess defense articles to Ukraine, and calls for a strategy to encourage partner nations to do the same.
  • Authorizes $4 million per year to train Ukrainian military officers through the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology.

Full text of this legislation can be found here.

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