Portman Welcomes Ukraine President Zelensky White House Visit
Notes Deep Concerns About Biden Administration's Decision to Allow Completion of Nord Stream 2 Pipeline
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, issued the following statement regarding news of Ukraine President Zelensky’s planned visit to the White House on August 30th:
“I commend the Biden administration for inviting President Zelenksy of Ukraine to visit the White House and meet with the president on August 30th. Ukraine is a key U.S. partner and ally that continues to bear the costs of Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea and the Donbas region. This is an important gesture that shows our unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and future NATO membership, while encouraging Mr. Zelensky’s continued efforts to battle corruption at home.
“The administration’s decision to waive the Congressionally mandated sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG is a serious misstep that endangers U.S., European, and Ukrainian security. This policy failure will ensure the completion of the pipeline, giving Russia a strategic advantage over our allies. The administration must demonstrate that it is committed to the security of Ukraine and our European partners and not allow Russia to endanger their sovereignty.
“As a co-sponsor of the Ukraine Security Partnership Act, I look forward to ensuring our allies and partners in Europe have the resources necessary to continue to defend themselves in the face of ongoing threats posed by Russia.”
In June, Senator Portman travelled to Ukraine on a bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) and met with President Zelenksy and other senior officials to discuss the impact of the administration’s decision to waive congressionally mandated sanctions on Nord Stream 2, continued Russian aggression and military buildup in the region, and the need for crucial corruption reforms for further integration into Western-aligned institutions, including NATO and the European Union.
The FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included provisions Portman championed to ensure that Ukraine has the necessary lethal aid to defend against continued Russian aggression including $250 million in security assistance to fund additional training, lethal and non-lethal equipment, and advisory efforts for Ukraine’s forces. In addition, the bill includes a Portman proposal to require the Department of Defense and the Department of State to develop a new, multi-year strategy to support the development of Ukraine’s military forces, increasing its capability and capacity and providing a resource plan for U.S. security assistance. This report will better synchronize and prioritize future U.S. security assistance to Ukraine by identifying gaps and shortfalls that need to be addressed.