U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made the following statement on the developing situation in the Kerch Strait:
"Russian aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait is yet another reminder that Vladimir Putin is not serious about peace in Ukraine and will stop at nothing to advance his own power in the region. American diplomacy, reinforced by the appropriate military force posture and military readiness, should reflect that fact.
"The United States, with our European allies, must take action to reinforce our commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and restoration of its territorial integrity. If Putin continues his Black Sea bullying, the United States and Europe must consider imposing additional sanctions on Russia, inserting a greater U.S. and NATO presence in the Black Sea region and increasing military assistance for Ukraine, as called for in the FY 2018 NDAA.
"Russia's latest provocations against Ukraine are also a reminder that strategic competition with Russia and China, as highlighted by Secretary Mattis, is an immediate and urgent reality. These authoritarian powers will continue to test the limits of American resolve as they seek to advance their dark view of the world. The United States must respond to this challenge with purpose and strength, starting by fully resourcing the National Defense Strategy."