Rob’s Rundown: Week of September 26 – September 30, 2022

September 30, 2022 | Rob's Rundown

Senator Portman was back in Washington this week where he spoke on the Senate floor for the 24th consecutive session week regarding the situation in Ukraine. Portman highlighted the sham “referendum” votes held by Russia to justify annexations of sovereign Ukrainian territory. He also discussed recent protests in Russia against the Kremlin as President Putin attempts to implement a draft of 300,000 soldiers. Portman made clear that now is not the time to stop supporting Ukraine, as military aid from the United States, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, has turned the tide for Ukraine and enabled its defenders to liberate cities and save innocent civilians from Russian occupation. As Co-Chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Portman has long been a staunch defender of Ukraine and has spoken consistently on the Senate floor since the Russian invasion began.

On Tuesday, Portman hosted members of the Ukrainian Parliament so that they could brief the Caucus on the latest events regarding Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and how the U.S. Senate can continue to better support our ally through military, economic, and humanitarian assistance. In attendance was Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova along with Ukrainian Parliament members David Arakhamia, head of the Servant of the People party; Anastasiia Radina, Head of the Anticorruption Committee and member of the Servant of the People party; and Oleksandra Ustinova, Head of Halos party.

On Thursday, Portman expressed alarm in light of the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report detailing more than $2.6 million in potentially fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment benefits claimed by DHS employees.

On Friday, Portman released a statement in response to Vladimir Putin’s illegitimate and illegal claims of Russian sovereignty over Ukrainian territory.

For a more detailed look at Senator Portman’s week, please see the following:

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Portman, Ukraine Caucus Receive Updates From Members of the Ukrainian Parliament

U.S. Senators Rob Portman and Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chairs of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, hosted members of the Ukrainian Parliament so that they could brief the Caucus on the latest events regarding Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine and how the U.S. Senate can continue to better support our ally through military, economic and humanitarian assistance. Ukrainian Parliament members in attendance today included David Arakhamia, head of the Servant of the People party; Anastasiia Radina, Head of the Anticorruption Committee and member of the Servant of the People party; and Oleksandra Ustinova, Head of Halos party. Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova was also in attendance. 

“I want to thank the members of Ukraine’s parliament for meeting with us today and giving this bipartisan group of Senators on the Senate Ukraine Caucus an important update on the situation on the ground in Ukraine during this critical time,” said Portman. “I continue to be inspired by the Ukrainian people, and the resolve they’ve shown to fight back against the illegal Russian invasion is admirable. The United States must continue to do all it can to help Ukraine by sending immediate military aid and imposing the toughest of sanctions on the Russian government. Congress can send another important message to Russia this week by supporting the additional aid for Ukraine in the Continuing Resolution. Ukraine must remain free and I’m confident that Congress will continue to stand with our ally until all Russian troops are out of Ukraine.”

Senator Portman continues to urge the Biden administration to send more weaponry to Ukraine, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, which are superior to most Russian artillery so that Ukraine can better push back on Russian advances.

As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Senator Portman has met with Ukrainian officials multiple times here in Washington and has traveled to Ukraine and other countries in Eastern Europe to hear from officials on the ground.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, Portman Presses Treasury Department Official on Imposing Energy Sanctions Against Russian Energy Production

Today during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Rob Portman questioned Elizabeth Rosenberg, the Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, on whether the department planned to extend their General License 8C, which allows energy-related transactions to continue with certain Russian banks without being subject to sanctions. Currently, the license is set to expire in early December. Senator Portman believes the license should not be extended in an effort to cut funding for Russia’s energy sector. When he asked Assistant Secretary Rosenberg if the license would be renewed, she refused to answer, saying instead that they were focused on implementing a controversial price-cap policy amongst the G7.

A video can be found here.

On Senate Floor, Portman Discusses Ukraine’s Progress on the Battlefield, Russia’s Illegitimate “Referendum” Votes and

Civilian Protests Against President Putin’s Mobilization 

This evening, U.S. Senator Rob Portman spoke on the Senate floor against continued Russian aggression on Ukraine for the 24th consecutive week while the Senate has been in session. Portman highlighted the sham “referendum” votes held by Russia to justify annexations of sovereign Ukrainian territory. He also discussed recent protests in Russia against the Kremlin as President Putin attempts to implement a draft of 300,000 soldiers. Senator Portman also discussed how military aid from the United States, including long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems or HIMARS, has enabled Ukraine to take out Russian targets and liberate territory.

A co-founder of the bipartisan Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Portman has met with top Ukrainian officials, including numerous meetings with Ukraine Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova and last week with Ukraine Prosecutor General, Andriy Kostin, to ensure that Russia is held accountable for their war crimes. He will continue to push for support to Ukraine alongside more than 50 other countries.

A video can be found here.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Portman Statement on Russia’s Illegitimate ‘Annexation’ of Ukrainian Territory

U.S. Senator Rob Portman, co-chair and co-founder of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today in response to Vladimir Putin’s illegitimate and illegal claims of Russian sovereignty over Ukrainian territory:

“I condemn this latest illegitimate landgrab by President Putin in the strongest possible terms. These actions are just another sign of Russia’s increasing desperation as its war effort falters. These illegal Russian claims on sovereign Ukrainian territory, coupled with President Putin’s nuclear threats and poorly executed mass mobilization, are frantic attempts to try to stop Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive. Russia is trying to claim sovereignty over territory that he barely controls - territory that he is losing every day. This will not help Russia’s war effort and only strengthen Western resolve. 

“This announcement, and the ‘referendum’ votes that preceded it in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, are a sham and illegitimate. Just like Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine, this is a clear violation of the UN Charter, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and the fundamental right of sovereign territorial integrity. In addition, the ‘referendum’ votes were clearly manipulated by Russia in order to manufacture an excuse to declare that the territory belongs to Russia and justify an illegal annexation. Make no mistake: this is straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook from its illegitimate ‘annexation’ of Crimea in 2014. Unfortunately for President Putin, this time Ukraine and its allies in the United States and Europe are ready, united, and prepared to defeat Russian aggression.

“Russia’s actions are being rightly condemned by the Biden administration, the UN, and governments around the world. In the eyes of the international community, this ‘annexation’ will never be recognized and will never have legal standing. As Ukraine’s forces continue to liberate territory, Russia’s ‘annexation’ will continue to be exposed as the farce that it is. Therefore, it is important that the international community stand together to ensure the sovereign borders of sovereign nations, especially those under attack like Ukraine, are not only recognized but protected.

“This is not an act of strength from Russia; it is an act of desperation and weakness. Now more than ever, we must surge support to Ukraine to ensure that Russia’s baseless claims of control over Ukrainian territory never become reality. Like many dictators before him, President Putin is trying to rewrite the borders of Europe with violence. We must ensure that he fails.”

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