U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) along with 60 of their colleagues in introducing a resolution Thursday that calls for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in response to Russia’s aggressive actions in the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov. Sens. Johnson, Durbin and Inhofe previously introduced a similar resolution toward the end of the last Congress.
“Ukraine is the front line of Vladimir Putin’s struggle against the free world. Just two months ago, Russia’s attack on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait marked a dangerous escalation of that conflict. Yet to date, Russia has paid no price for its aggression. We must respond urgently and with strength to prevent further aggression by providing additional lethal aid to Ukraine, especially to improve its maritime capabilities, and, working with our NATO allies, maintain and enhance our presence in the Black Sea. Ukraine has never asked Americans or Europeans to do their fighting for them; they have asked only that we give them the tools they need to defend themselves and their country. Ukrainians need and deserve our help,” Sen. Inhofe said.
“It has been two months since Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews in international waters, and still neither the vessels nor the crews have been returned to Ukraine. The international community has largely moved on without an adequate response. This is exactly the wrong message to send to Vladimir Putin,” Sen. Johnson said. “Moscow’s action is testing Western resolve and if we fail to respond with strength, more will follow. We must not let that happen.”
“Russia’s continued provocative military actions and revelations about its extensive cyber disinformation campaigns in the U.S. should be warnings to the rest of the world that Vladimir Putin has no intention of stopping his aggressive campaign against Western democracies or Ukraine,” said Sen. Durbin. “President Trump must work with key Western allies to stop this Russian assault on democracy and Ukrainian sovereignty. I am proud to support this resolution and urge my colleagues to reaffirm this message of deterring further aggression from the Russian Federation.”
Full text of the resolution can be found here.
Sen. Johnson is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and Sen. Durbin is Senate Minority Whip. Joining Sens. Johnson and Durbin in cosponsoring the resolution was Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; and Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Deb Fischer (D-Neb.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joe Machin (D-W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.).