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Sanctions Alone Will Not Deter Russian Separatists

July 17, 2014
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after President Barack Obama announced his intention yesterday to impose more sanctions on Russia in response to continued conflict along the Russia-Ukraine border. Today, concerns surrounding the conflict in the region intensified after Malaysia Flight MH17, en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam, was shot down and crashed in Ukraine near a pro-Russia separatist stronghold. 

“In the wake of today’s heartbreaking incident and following the president’s announcement to impose more sanctions on Russia, we are reminded of the gravity of the conflict and danger facing our friends in Ukraine,” said Cole. “In light of these events, it has become increasingly urgent for the United States to consider other ways to assist Ukraine in its time of desperate need.

“While the Ukrainian defense force continues to hold the line in the midst of growing threats, the rebels and the Russians continue to bully and attempt to dismember Ukraine. Beyond imposing sanctions, we must stand alongside Ukraine in its fight for survival against pro-Russian separatists, whether through providing equipment, strategic advice or intelligence. Especially in light of today’s incident, it would be well-advised for the president to explore such options immediately by sending a delegation to Kiev in order to define the needs of our Ukrainian friends and determine how we can help them defeat the separatist movement. Without some sort of significant aid to the Ukrainian military, stability in the region will likely remain elusive.     

“Ukraine is an important friend that shares our values. Rather than relying exclusively on sanctions, this unfolding situation requires strong, decisive leadership by President Obama. He must show that he’s ready to lead through aid that will actually deter the rebels and the Russians from this violence,” concluded Cole.

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Contact: Sarah Corley (202) 225-6165