WASHINGTON, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement today on media reports suggesting that sanctions on Russia may be lifted:

“I am deeply concerned about reports suggesting that sanctions imposed on Russia may be lifted without resolving the unacceptable and hostile actions that caused the sanctions to be imposed by the U.S. and our allies.  I would encourage the president to reject this course of action.  To lift the sanctions on Russia for any reason other than a change in the behavior that led to those sanctions in the first place would send a dangerous message to a world already questioning the value of American leadership and the credibility of our commitments after eight years of Obama administration policies.  We must stand by our allies in the region, including Ukraine.  I believe the U.S. Senate should take pro-active steps to codify the sanctions against Russia into law to ensure we live up to our commitments to our allies and uphold longstanding American values and ideals.”

NOTE: Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and founding co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus has long led the drive to provide Ukraine the assistance necessary to resist Russian aggression and maintain its territorial integrity, and recently received the Ukrainian-American community’s highest honor, the Shevchenko Freedom Award, for his efforts. In addition to leading 27 of his colleagues in a bipartisan letter urging the President-elect to support Ukraine and stand up to Russia, Senator Portman also authored federal law that will help the U.S. and its allies such as Ukraine better counter and combat the extensive propaganda and disinformation operations directed against us from countries like Russia.  He is an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation, the Countering Russian Hostilities Act, would confront Russian aggression on each of these fronts.