Washington, D.C.U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rob Portman (R-Ohio.), co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, today released the following statement after the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations passed their bipartisan resolution strongly condemning the Russian Federation’s illegal occupation of the Crimean peninsula, and also reaffirming the United States’ policy recognizing Crimea as a sovereign part of the nation of Ukraine.

“This resolution shows the world that the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty is absolute. Now, more than ever, it is important to show our allies that the United States will stand by them when they face Russian aggression,” said Senator Menendez, who himself was personally sanctioned by Putin for his continuing efforts to hold the Russian president accountable for his actions. “The American people know that defending the sovereignty of our allies is critical to our national security, and I look forward to having this important and timely effort adopted by the full Senate. The Senate should also move quickly on new sanctions measures that would increase pressure on the Kremlin to address this illegal occupation and ongoing Russian military hostilities in eastern Ukraine.”

“The United States continues to stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression,” said Senator Portman. “As Secretary Pompeo made clear in his declaration yesterday, Crimea was illegally seized from Ukraine by Russia, and the United States must never recognize this illegitimate occupation. This violates not just the rights of the Ukrainian people, but also the fundamental principles of the international order that America has proudly led for more than 70 years. Crimea is part of Ukraine. Until Russia recognizes that fact and returns Crimea to Ukrainian control, the United States must maintain and tighten sanctions on Russia. I applaud the Committee’s passage of this resolution and urge my colleagues to support it when it comes to the floor.”

The Menendez-Portman resolution was co-sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Pat Toomey (R-Pa.); Chris Coons (D-Del.); Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Ed Markey (D-Mass.); Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.); Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio.), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

A copy of the Senators’ resolution can be found HERE