RUSSIAN ENCROACHMENT INTO UKRAINE; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 143
(Senate - November 20, 2014)

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[Pages S6165-S6167]
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  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to call this body's 
attention to a crisis that grows more alarming every day, and that is 
the continued Russian encroachment into Ukraine. It has been over 2 
months since the Ukrainian Government entered into a ceasefire 
agreement with Russian-backed separatists in southeastern Ukraine. It 
is an agreement that the separatists have repeatedly violated, and 
since it came into effect hundreds--hundreds--of Ukrainian soldiers 
have died in battle against these same separatist forces.
  The Ukrainian people want peace, but these insurgents and their 
patrons in Moscow are not interested. Every day they grow more 
aggressive and bolder in their violations of the Ukrainian territory 
and their willingness to subvert the international order.
  I know there are some in this body who would say this is not our 
problem, it is thousands of miles away, and not our concern. Some 
people may think it doesn't matter which flag flies over the territory. 
I have a different view. To me, what happens in Ukraine is very much in 
our interests. It is in the interests of all who value liberty and the 
right to choose one's own future. The stakes are very high, and the 
consequences of inaction are devastating. To those who ask why is this 
important, let me bring up several points.
  First, it is in America's interest to uphold our traditional 
commitment to supporting democracy around the world and the right of a 
people to choose their own destiny. When the Soviet Union fell and the 
people of Eastern Europe took back the liberty that had been stolen 
from them decades before, the United States made a solemn promise: 
Embrace democracy, freedom, transparency, and the rule of law, and we 
will embrace you.
  The Ukrainian people made their choice. They did so on the 24th of 
August, 1991, when an independent Ukraine ceased to be a dream and 
became a reality. They reaffirmed that commitment over a decade later 
when the Orange Revolution swept a corrupt government from office. And 
earlier this year in the face of Russian threats, intimidation, and 
aggression, they did so again. I saw that commitment firsthand earlier 
this year when I had the honor of leading a Congressional delegation 
with my colleague from Maryland, Senator Cardin, to monitor the 
Ukrainian Presidential election. Senator Cardin and I saw the spirit of 
the Ukrainian people and their determination to honor the memory of 
brave men and women who had given their lives in the fight for a free 
and independent Ukraine. That fight continues today.
  But this fight is about more than just Ukraine. Failing to honor our 
commitment to the Ukrainians will have real consequences that extend to 
other national security priorities for the United States of America. 
When Ukraine emerged as an independent nation after the Cold War, it 
inherited the world's third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. As a 
newly independent State

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looking to ensure its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Ukraine 
could have relied on its nuclear arsenal to ward off would-be 
aggressors. They made a different decision. Instead of pursuing this 
dangerous path, they sought and received assurances from the 
international community that its borders would be respected if it gave 
up its nuclear weapons.
  In 1994, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Ukraine 
signed the Budapest Memorandum in which all sides pledged to respect 
Ukraine's territorial integrity, refrain from using military force or 
economic pressure to limit Ukrainian sovereignty, and provide 
assistance to the Ukraine if it became the victim of aggression from 
another nation.
  Clearly Russia has broken its part of that agreement. Now the 
question is whether we are breaking ours. If we do break our word, what 
will the impact be on American counter-proliferation efforts around the 
world? How can any nation we seek to prevent from developing nuclear 
weapons ever trust U.S. security assurances if they see the carnage and 
destruction in Ukraine, if they see this as being the result of trading 
nuclear weapons for American guarantees?
  More than just the credibility of U.S. counter-proliferation efforts 
is at stake here. Events in the Ukraine are a direct challenge to the 
entire U.S.-led international order. U.S. economic and military power 
was the glue that kept the Western alliance together through the 
challenges of the Cold War and formed the foundation of an 
international order based on universal values and standards of conduct 
that has led to unprecedented global prosperity and stability. This in 
turn has produced a period of U.S. economic growth and security 
unrivaled in our Nation's history. Confidence in America's willingness 
to use our unmatched capabilities to uphold this system deters 
potential challengers and incentivizes other countries to play by the 
rules, which prevents us from actually having to use them.
  America's commitment to uphold this system is incredibly important. 
If the credibility of this commitment is in doubt, then the stability 
and openness upon which U.S. economic prosperity and national security 
depend is jeopardized and the chance for violence, instability, and 
economic collapse increases.
  By the way, the Russian Government knows all this. President Putin, 
who famously declared the collapse of the Soviet Union to be ``the 
greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,'' knows that his 
dream of building a new Russian empire out of the ashes of the Soviet 
Union requires establishing Russian dominance over its newly 
independent neighbors, many of whom--like Ukraine--want closer 
integration with the West, not Russia. To accomplish this goal, Moscow 
must shatter this political, economic, military, and ideological 
credibility of the Western system. Russian aggression against Ukraine 
today or Georgia back in 2008 is as much about demonstrating the 
emptiness of U.S. and Western guarantees as it is about control of 
these individual countries, in my view. The conflict in Ukraine is the 
latest escalation of this trend, one that will continue until the 
United States and its allies say firmly, ``This shall not continue.''
  The President keeps saying that ``there is no military solution to 
this conflict.'' The President may think so, but Moscow certainly does 
not. The direct Russian military involvement in Ukraine has been on 
full display for the world to see for months. In previous times it may 
have been easier to keep these movements out of sight, even as 
President Putin does his best to suppress a free press. But we are 
fortunate to have reporters willing to document what they see for all 
the world to witness.
  Here are a few examples in the media from recent days. This is a 
picture of a Russian-made T-90 main battle tank in the Luhansk Oblast 
of Ukraine recently. This T-90 tank, by the way, is a very 
sophisticated Russian tank.
  Do you know who owns these T-90 tanks? Here are the countries: 
Algeria, Azerbaijan, India, Turkmenistan, and Russia. I think it is 
safe to say that these tanks didn't drive from South Asia or from North 
Africa. They came from Russia, and they are in Ukraine.
  Here is a picture of a Sukhoi-24 attack fighter reportedly taken in 
Russia. You will see painted on the tail the flag of the pro-Russian 
separatists. Not many people are aware of reports that Russia is 
helping to create a separatist air force, but we must wake up and 
realize the extent to which Russia is determined to trample on Ukraine 
and the global order to achieve its ends. In the last couple of days 
there have also seen reports of significant movement of Russian 
aircraft to the Ukrainian border.
  These are just a few examples of the Russian armored personnel 
carriers, artillery, tanks, air defense systems, electronic warfare 
units, and thousands of Russian troops that NATO reports say have moved 
into Ukraine over the last several weeks. According to the Ukrainian 
analysts, Russian and separatist forces have been organized into mobile 
strike groups and have completed reconnaissance of Ukrainian positions 
in preparation for an all-out assault. Barely a day has gone by since 
the signing of the so-called ceasefire in September where Ukrainian 
troops haven't come under attack, as separatists probe Ukrainian 
defenses looking for an opening. Since the beginning of the conflict, 
conservative estimates have put the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed 
or wounded at roughly 4,000.
  By the way, at least another approximately 5,000 civilians have been 
killed or wounded in the fighting.
  We shouldn't be afraid to call this exactly what it is. This is part 
of a Russian invasion. We saw it in Crimea; we are now seeing it in 
other parts of Ukraine.
  Two months ago the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, spoke here 
before a joint session of Congress. We were all there. It was a 
poignant speech, a powerful speech, and one from the heart. There is a 
line in that speech that I think stood out. In speaking about the aid 
we have sent to Ukraine and thanking us for that aid, President 
Poroshenko said, ``One cannot win the war with blankets. Even more, we 
cannot keep the peace with a blanket.''
  And he was right. Blankets won't stop this tank we saw earlier. 
Blankets won't stop bullets. Blankets won't protect Ukrainian children 
from Russian artillery shells.
  We don't know a whole lot about what the United States has provided 
to the Ukrainians, but I will get to that in a moment. We are having 
trouble getting that information from the administration. But we know a 
few things. We know we have given them blankets, sleeping mats, 
military rations, medical kits, and body armor. This is the majority of 
what we have been providing, as far as we know, to the Ukrainian 
military. I know the Ukrainians are grateful for these items. But when 
you compare this to the Russian involvement, the differences are 
startling. Here is what we provided to the Ukrainians. Here is the 
Russian support being provided to the separatists. I am proud of the 
hard-working Ohioans----
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator has used 10 minutes.
  Mr. PORTMAN. While I am proud of the hard-working Ohioans in 
Cincinnati and elsewhere who are making these rations, and the folks in 
Heath who produce these helmets, they know as well as I do that this 
equipment doesn't constitute deterrence, especially not when Ukrainians 
are facing advanced Russian equipment and troops.
  May I ask unanimous consent for an additional 3 minutes?
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection it is so ordered.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Thank you.
  I don't mean to downplay the importance of the economic, political, 
and humanitarian aid we have provided. Indeed, there are many economic 
and political reforms the Ukrainians will need to make in order to 
secure long-term peace and prosperity. But how can Ukrainians be 
expected to make these difficult but necessary reforms if it cannot 
control its own borders or maintain law and order? There is a military 
dimension to this crisis we simply cannot ignore any longer.
  Moscow continues to believe that military force is a viable option to 
achieve its goals. Unless the United

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States and its allies help the Ukrainians prove otherwise, we shouldn't 
expect any change in its behavior. Ukraine needs anti-tank weapons to 
defend against armored assaults; it needs modern air defense systems to 
defend against Russian air superiority; it needs unmanned aircraft to 
monitor its borders and to detect violations of its sovereignty and the 
ceasefire. It needs secure communications gear to prevent Russia from 
accessing Ukrainian plans and troop locations. It needs advanced 
counter-battery radar to target the artillery batteries responsible for 
so many of the casualties in the conflict. It needs elite rapid 
reaction forces capable of responding to Russian border provocations 
and the fast-moving asymmetric ``hybrid war'' tactics the Russians use 
to destabilize the country. Therefore, they also need training. The 
Ukrainians have asked for this support, and we should provide it.

  Most importantly, Ukraine needs a sustained commitment from the 
United States and our NATO allies to provide both the quality and the 
quantity of equipment necessary to preserve its independence. This is 
not a partisan issue. Leading Democrats in the Senate, such as the 
Chairmen of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, 
Senators Levin and Menendez, as well as Senator Cardin and others, have 
joined in calling for increased assistance, including defensive 
weapons. Yet the President and some of his top advisers continue to 
stand in the way of meaningful action for fear of provoking Russia, as 
if the tanks streaming into Ukraine or the daily clashes aren't 
evidence enough that American restraint has not had the desired effect 
on Russian activity and policy.
  It is well known by now that the President has refused to adopt 
policies that actually provide Ukraine with the capabilities needed to 
change the situation on the ground. What is less well known is whether 
the administration is even fully committed to fulfilling the objectives 
of its own already limited policies.
  For all the talk we have heard about the President and his steadfast 
support for Ukraine and the $116 million in security assistance the 
United States has promised to deliver, we know almost nothing about how 
these policies are actually being implemented. This administration has 
been a black box when it comes to getting even the most basic 
information on our efforts to aid Ukraine. Despite multiple requests, 
including a letter to the President from Senator Cardin and me, we 
still can't seem to get answers on fundamental questions: What 
equipment has been delivered to Ukraine? How long will it take to 
deliver the equipment we have promised but not delivered? What is the 
process for determining what capabilities to provide? How does the 
equipment we have agreed to provide support the capabilities they have 
requested? How do our assistance efforts fit into a comprehensive 
  This complete lack of transparency on the day-to-day implementation 
of U.S. assistance raises questions about the underlying policy 
guidance driving it and whether the administration actually has far 
more modest goals than the President's public rhetoric would suggest. 
For example, a bipartisan assessment, conducted by GEN Wesley Clark, 
Retired, and former top Pentagon official Dr. Phillip Karber, and 
featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other major 
newspapers, revealed that the Obama administration has issued extremely 
restrictive instructions on the type of nonlethal aid the United States 
could provide. The lack of this aid has created real problems for the 
  The fact is that no one in Congress knows how these regulations will 
be applied. This is a huge problem and stands in the way of a coherent 
and effective policy.
  Yesterday the President's Deputy National Security Adviser testified 
that strengthening the Ukrainian forces is ``something we should be 
looking at.'' While this is a welcome change of tone, we should be well 
beyond the point of just looking at it, in my view, because every day 
we delay, every day we dither, every day we match Russian action with 
half-measures and self-imposed limitations, Moscow is emboldened and 
the danger grows.
  I am convinced that a piecemeal, reactionary response to intimidation 
from Moscow is a recipe for failure. Instead, we must have a 
comprehensive, proactive strategy that strengthens NATO, deters Russian 
aggression, and gives Ukraine the political, economic, and military 
support it needs to maintain its independence. We need a strategy that 
seeks to shape outcomes, not be shaped by them.
  Much of that leadership must come from the White House, but this body 
also has a role to play. We should include funding for Ukrainian 
military assistance in upcoming spending bills. We should pass the 
Ukraine Freedom Support Act, which would authorize the assistance 
Ukraine needs today. We should pass legislation that will reduce 
Ukraine's--and all of Europe's--reliance on Russia for its energy 
resources. And we should pass legislation to ensure that the United 
States never recognizes Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.
  The need for action could not be more clear. Through his aggression 
in Ukraine, President Putin and Moscow are sending a message to Ukraine 
and to the world that America and the West are indecisive and weak and 
that their guarantees of support are meaningless. The Ukrainian people 
have rejected that message, choosing instead the path of democracy and 
openness--a path the United States has urged the Ukrainians and also 
the world to follow. We and our NATO allies must now stand with them.
  When America is strong, when we stand unequivocally for freedom and 
justice, when we don't back down in the face of threats and 
intimidation, that is when we see a world that is more stable, less 
dangerous, and more free. That is because we stand with our allies.
  More wars, more conflicts, more threats to our security--these do not 
arise from American strength; these arise from American weakness. Let's 
be strong again. Let's lead again. Let's help Ukraine. The world is 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to be recognized 
for up to 10 minutes.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator is recognized.