Portman Welcomes President Trump Decision on Security Assistance & Urges Other NATO Countries to Do More to Help Ukraine

September 12, 2019 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, praised the decision by President Trump to authorize the release of $250 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Funds (USAI) following the completion of a Department of Defense and State Department review of the program. This money, in conjunction with State Department Foreign Military Financing, will provide key support to the Ukrainian military to help it ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity.  He released the following statement: 

“I appreciate President Trump releasing the security funds for Ukraine, and I want to thank him for doing so.  I strongly support the president’s position that NATO allies and especially our European countries in the region can and must do more to support Ukraine.  Our military aid is crucial to allow Ukraine to defend itself, but increased European security assistance is also crucial, and would make our support more effective.  President Zelensky is a strong ally of the United States and I support his anti-corruption agenda.  With this funding we will provide vital assistance to help the Ukrainian military continue on their path of reform and implement improved training and readiness to be able to defend their homeland against Russian aggression.” 

NOTE:  Portman has long been a staunch supporter of Ukraine and co-led a bipartisan letter with Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), along with Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI), to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, urging the Trump administration to release $250 million in authorized military security assistance for Ukraine. The Senators’ letter came in response to media reports that the administration was holding up the funds, which were authorized and appropriated by Congress on a bipartisan basis.  The full text of the letter can be read here. 

In May, Portman visited Ukraine and met with the newly-elected President Zelensky, who is a staunch U.S. ally and is directing a strong anti-corruption campaign in his own government.  He also visited Ukraine in April 2018 to see firsthand evidence of Russian aggression on the line of contact and led a congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) during Ukraine’s presidential election in 2014.   

Portman has led efforts in the Senate to provide additional security assistance to Ukraine.  For the past three years, he has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that expanded U.S. military aid to Ukraine. These provisions helped build the primary statutory framework for U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.  For his efforts to support Ukraine, Portman received the Order of Merit from former President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Ukraine in 2018, received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor in 2016, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, and was recognized with the Order Of St. Volodymyr Medal from Ukrainian Patriarch Filaret.