WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the announcement of a ceasefire in Ukraine.

“The ceasefire agreement in Ukraine is a welcome development, but we must remain vigilant to ensure that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine are fully restored. Russia and the separatists in Eastern Ukraine completely ignored their ceasefire commitments made last September and so while I am hopeful, genuine evidence of progress will come only with verifiable compliance on the ground.

“As we wait to see if the ceasefire will hold, the international community should maintain pressure on Moscow. There can be no let-up in the sanctions regime and the U.S. should move forward and establish deeper security ties with Ukraine and other vulnerable countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states. Sanctions helped to bring Putin to the negotiating table and we should maintain this pressure until we are confident that Ukraine’s territorial integrity has been fully restored, including Crimea.

“Ultimately the most effective way to counter an assertive Russia is to support a strong and unified Ukraine. I was pleased to see that the IMF approved a $17.5 billion package yesterday to address the country's financial challenges. This however will not be enough. The U.S. and E.U. should work together to identify ways to bolster the Ukrainian economy and continue the difficult process of helping to reform Ukrainian institutions.”

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