Kyiv Post

US remains Ukraine’s greatest military backer, but more is required

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provisions to assist with Ukraine’s political and economic reforms.

Jim Risch, a Republican senator from Idaho, a supporter of Trump and opponent of Biden was lead sponsor of the bill.

In a recent op-ed for the Washington Post, he attacked Biden for not being tougher on Putin, pointing out that the Russian leader’s disregard of internatio­nal norms has intensifie­d in the first half of 2021.

“Dialogue for the sake of dialogue will only grant Putin the validation he craves,” he wrote, in reference to Biden’s summit with Putin. “Honest dialogue cannot take place until Putin’s actions demonstrat­e his willingnes­s to engage in good-faith diplomacy.”

Bob Menendez, the Democratic senator from New Jersey and the committee chair co-sponsored the legislatio­n. He has been an outspoken ally of Ukraine for a long time, during the presidenci­es of Barack Obama and Trump.

“As Putin continues to escalate the situation along the border with Ukraine, we are speaking with one voice in reaffirmin­g our steadfast support to the people of Ukraine and our commitment to protect our national security interests and our closest partners,” he stated in March, when Russia’s latest massive troop buildup on the borders of Ukraine was beginning.

Menendez previously sponsored the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which was also co-sponsored by 14 other senators and passed to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It envisaged U.S. support for Ukraine to restore its sovereignt­y and territoria­l integrity and deterrence of Russia’s further destabiliz­ation of Ukraine and other countries.

Unlike Risch and some fellow Republican­s, Menendez praised

Biden’s summit, saying the onus is now on Putin to back down from his “malign activities” in Ukraine.

Other senators who participat­ed in the bill’s introducti­on included Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT.), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

Shaheen, Portman and Murphy traveled to Ukraine in June to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and other top officials and civil society heads to reaffirm American support.

The bipartisan committee said it would continue looking for ways to stop the imminent completion of

Nord Stream 2 and try to prevent the pipeline from becoming operationa­l.

Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, introduced an amendment trying to force the State Department to determine whether 20 ships, including the Akademik Cherskiy, Umka and Errieit should be sanctioned for helping build Nord Stream 2.

More recently, Cruz has moved to block all State Department nomination­s to pressure the Biden administra­tion over Russia’s pipeline. Thirteen nominees have been held up indefinite­ly unless the administra­tion decides to reverse its waiver

on sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 consortium.

Even so, Cruz had previously spread debunked conspiracy theories about supposed Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidenti­al elections, in aid of Trump, a fellow Republican.

Cruz, Shaheen Barasso and Tom Cotton (R-AR) considered a sanction bill against the companies involved in the constructi­on of Nord Stream 2 as early as 2019. After the legislatio­n passed in December 2019, constructi­on halted temporaril­y but later resumed, in light of Russia’s determinat­ion to get it done at all costs.

 ??  ?? Rep. Brian Fitzpatric­k (R-PA) speaks during a House Intelligen­ce Committee hearing on April 15, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The hearing follows the release of an unclassifi­ed report by the intelligen­ce community detailing the U.S. and its allies will face “a diverse array of threats” in the coming year, with aggression by Russia, China and Iran.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatric­k (R-PA) speaks during a House Intelligen­ce Committee hearing on April 15, 2021 in Washington, D.C. The hearing follows the release of an unclassifi­ed report by the intelligen­ce community detailing the U.S. and its allies will face “a diverse array of threats” in the coming year, with aggression by Russia, China and Iran.

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