USA*Engage Opposes S. 2828, “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014”

Thursday, 18 September 2014
Washington, DC – USA*Engage Director Richard Sawaya issued the following statement today following the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (S. 2828).

“Russia’s actions in Ukraine are an immediate and pressing problem for the United States and the EU. To date, both the United States and the EU have not supplied Ukraine with military assistance. Instead, they have implemented increasingly draconian economic sanctions, targeting the Russian energy, defense and financial sectors. These sanctions have made little difference in Russian behavior toward Ukraine.

“S. 2828 is an understandable attempt by its proponents to provide U.S. military, financial and other assistance to Ukraine. But S. 2828 would also codify the executive branch sanctions that have been put in place, in effect freezing the status quo.

“Given the Russian response to the U.S. and EU sanctions, and the fact that sanctions have no connection to the provision of military, financial or other assistance that would presumably improve the Ukrainian government’s position vis-a-vis Russia, their inclusion in the legislation is most unfortunate. For this reason, USA*Engage opposes further congressional action on S. 2828 as reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“In their present state, the U.S. and EU sanctions have not changed Russia’s behavior in Ukraine. Given Russia’s financial position, as well as its place in the global economy, there is little chance they will in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, the U.S. sanctions are exacting substantial collateral damage to U.S. investments and operations in Russia across sectors. At least, under the status quo, their rapid reversal remains possible should the situation on the ground in Ukraine change. It is difficult to see how their codification in law would facilitate resolution of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow.”