Congressional Record Statements
|PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE 113th CONGRESS, 2nd SESSION
||Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014
SENATOR CARDIN'S FLOOR STATEMENT ON UKRAINE
HON. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, tomorrow we are going to have an
opportunity to vote on S. 2124, and I am pleased to learn that it looks
as if there is going to be overwhelming support in the Senate for the
passage of S. 2124. This is the legislation that helps Ukraine in
dealing with the invasion by Russia.
Russia's illegal actions of using its military to overtake Crimea, a
part of Ukraine, violate numerous international obligations that Russia
has committed to.
I have the honor of chairing the U.S. Helsinki Commission. The
Helsinki Accords were entered into in 1975. Russia was one of the
leading forces for forming the OSCE.
Russia's taking over of Crimea violates its commitments it made under
the Helsinki Final Act. It violates the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which
was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and
Russia, that guaranteed basically Ukraine's integrity of its land. It
violates the 1997 Ukraine-Russia bilateral treaty. It violates the U.N.
Charter. The list goes on and on and on.
So I believe it is absolutely essential that we have a strong voice
in standing with the people of Ukraine. There was absolutely no
justification whatsoever for Russia's action. There was no threat to
any of the ethnic communities in Ukraine. All the rights of the people
were being protected. The country was in transition from a corrupt
government to a government that respected the rights of its citizens.
If there was any provocation whatsoever of any unrest, it was caused by
Russia's presence in Ukraine.
We got reports from the chief rabbi in Kiev that Russia was staging
anti-Semitic provocations in Crimea, and the list goes on and on as to
what Russia was doing in order to try to give some justification for
Russia's thinly veiled landgrab, cloaked in the cloth of self-
determination, must not go unchallenged. Here is what I think is
critically important: This is a dangerous precedent. We saw Russia use
a similar action in Georgia, and now in Crimea in Ukraine. There are
other territorial issues involved around the world. If this goes unchecked,
if we do not speak with a unified voice, it just encourages more irresponsible
action by Russia in other countries.
We know that we have concerns about the South China Sea. We know we
have concerns about Moldova. There are many other areas where Russia
could be involved in its border areas.
So all of these issues are matters for us to speak with a strong
unified voice. S. 2124 does that. It does it in two principal ways.
First, it imposes the sanctions against those responsible for
Russia's invasion into Crimea, Ukraine. It provides sanctions so that
these individuals are not permitted to come to the United States. There
are economic sanctions in regard to the use of our banking system.
These are similar sanctions to what are now being imposed by our
We need to isolate Russia. As we all know, the G8, which included
Russia, is now a G7 without Russia. Russia needs to know that there
will be sanctions imposed, and they will be stronger sanctions unless
they stop this aggressive action.
In addition, the legislation provides economic assistance to the new
Government of Ukraine. Just 2 weeks ago the Prime Minister of Ukraine
was here and met with Members of the Senate. I tell you, it was
inspirational to listen to his vision for Ukraine as a democratic,
independent state, with full integration into Europe. That is
important. He is preparing for a May 25 election for the Presidency of
These are all very, very positive steps. But if Ukraine does not have
the economic foothold to be able to develop the type of economy and
strength in their country, it will be difficult for Ukraine to be
maintained as a viable independent state.
Here is where the United States and our European allies, and I hope
the global community, come together, as we have in this legislation, to
provide economic help on a restructured economic plan for Ukraine that
will help them move forward in a very constructive way.
Mr. President, I must tell you I am disappointed, though, that the
reforms of the IMF will be eliminated from this legislation. I think
that is regrettable. We are entering into a plan for Ukraine that very
much depends upon the IMF's--the International Monetary Fund's--plan to
make sure that the moneys we are spending, Europe is spending, and
other countries are loaning and providing to Ukraine are based upon a
sound economic plan that will work. That is why the IMF is there. And
they will be there. But the United States needs to be a full
participant in the IMF. We are out of compliance, and here is another
opportunity lost for us to be in full compliance with the IMF. I am
disappointed about that.
But as I said as I took the floor, we must speak with one voice--the
Obama administration; the House, the Senate; the Congress--as we stand
with the people of Ukraine for their integrity, for their independence,
and for the adherence to international principles, which Russia has