Portman Statement on Meeting with Ukraine President Zelenskyy

January 18, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, issued the following statement after meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Portman led a bipartisan congressional delegation to Ukraine, which included senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees. The trip included Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

In addition to meeting with President Zelenskyy, the delegation also met with the Prime Minister and Ukraine ministers of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Energy, and Interior. On Christmas Eve, Senator Portman and Shaheen, along with more than 20 members of the House and Senate, held a video conference call with President Zelenskyy to discuss the security situation in the country. Portman also authored an op-ed in the Washington Post with Senator Shaheen that can be found here.

“This is a critical time in Ukraine’s history and our delegation sent a message to Russia and the people of Ukraine that the United States stands with Ukraine in response to unwarranted and unprovoked Russian aggression. As a bipartisan delegation representing different parts of the country across the political spectrum, we made it clear that the cause of freedom knows no political boundary in the U.S. Congress. We expressed our solidarity with the people of Ukraine in protecting their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“We discussed the United States commitment to provide military assistance to ensure Ukraine can defend itself and deter the threat from Russia. Congress recently demonstrated that commitment through passage of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that increased our military support through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. The initiative has been extended through 2022 and its funding increased from $250 million in FY 2021 to $300 million next year with at least $75 million specifically designated for lethal assistance. We also discussed our support the recent decision by the Biden administration to exercise the Presidential Drawdown Authority of additional defensive military equipment.

“In 2014, the people of Ukraine chose to turn away from an authoritarian past and turn toward freedom, prosperity and democracy, embrace the West and stand with us. Now it is our turn to stand with Ukraine. America should be encouraged by Ukraine’s determination to remain free, and independent. A sovereign and democratic Ukraine is not just good for the people of Ukraine, it is important to the stability of Europe and provides a beacon of hope to millions of others who wish for that same freedom. 

“We also talked about democratic reforms in Ukraine. I am encouraged by the efforts of President Zelesnkyy and other Ukrainian leaders to continue to promote additional reforms in order to further position Ukraine for EU and NATO membership. We must hold Russia to its international commitments, including those that promised Ukraine territorial sovereignty and independence.”