Portman "Deeply Troubled" By Party Platform Change Removing Lethal Aid to Ukraine

July 20, 2016 | Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today said he was deeply troubled that the Republican Party Platform was changed to remove specific language that called for providing our ally Ukraine with defensive, lethal assistance to help defend themselves against Russian aggression.

“The United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with our ally Ukraine,” Portman said. “We cannot allow Russia's aggression to go unchecked.  There is overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress for sending military aid to help Ukraine, and the fact that the Obama administration continues to refuse to do so is outrageous. It is deeply troubling that specific language in the Republican Party platform calling for defensive lethal aid to Ukraine was removed in favor of watered-down language that means little. Russian aggression in Ukraine and throughout the region represents a grave threat to the safety and security of our allies and to the values we hold dear both as Americans and as Republicans. Failing to condemn Russia’s actions makes us complicit. Both parties have an obligation to stand up for freedom and democracy around the globe, and stand up to brutal dictators who are determined to undermine those ideals. I will continue to lead this fight in Congress and stand by our ally."

NOTE: Portman has been a leader in the congressional effort to increase military assistance to Ukraine to ensure it can defend its sovereign borders against escalating Russian aggression.  He, along with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), launched the Senate Ukraine Caucus last year with the goal of strengthening the political, military, economic and cultural relationship between the U.S. and Ukraine.

When Senator Portman was notified of these changes, he immediately and publicly objected to them in interviews with news media.