On Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Portman Affirms U.S. Support for Ukraine
Yesterday, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) sat down for an interview Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague, Czech Republic in which he reaffirmed the United States’ support for Ukraine, including the recently approved defensive lethal assistance. Portman has led efforts in the U.S. Senate to provide assistance to Ukraine, to strengthen ties between the two countries, and to support Ukrainian efforts to defend itself from Russian aggression.
Said Portman in the interview: “I think the right thing for the United States, for others to do on behalf of Ukraine is to allow them to purchase weapons to be able to defend themselves, including these new weapons that are being delivered now… It’s primarily for defense purposes because they are not on the offensive. They are defending their integrity of their own territory. So on the eastern border of Ukraine there’s been a need to be able to respond to some of the Russian backed insurgents, of course there’s been Russian equipment that has been captured… that is things that is difficult for them to defend against, tanks in particular… Now there is an opportunity for [the Ukrainians] to have additional weapons to simply be able to say: 'There will be consequences,' if the aggression continues and I think that will lead to a more peaceful solution…”
To view the full interview, click here.
NOTE: Portman, who received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor in 2016, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, has long led the effort to provide Ukraine the kind of assistance necessary to ward off Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. The co-founder and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Portman has visited Ukraine several times, including leading a Congressional election observation mission with Senator Ben Cardin during Ukraine's Presidential election in 2014. For the past three years, Portman has successfully introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization Act 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. The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Report authorizes $350 million in security assistance, including lethal and non-lethal equipment, training, and technical assistance. In addition, he has repeatedly written letters, delivered multiple floor speeches, and pressed senior Administration officials on the importance of providing meaningful assistance to help Ukraine stand up to Russia’s military aggression, and has praised its recent decisions to provide lethal assistance to country.