WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this week joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in a meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv as the United States continues to monitor significant Russian troop buildup on the Russia/Ukraine border.
In addition to meeting with President Zelenskyy, the delegation also met with the Prime Minister and Ukraine ministers of Defense, Foreign Affairs, Energy and Interior.
The delegation included U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
“Our bipartisan delegation concluded a comprehensive series of meetings with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration, and made clear that the United States is united across party lines in support of Ukraine against Putin’s belligerence,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to have partnered with Senator Portman to lead this group of lawmakers to reaffirm our nation’s resolve to stand with our democratic partners. I look forward to sharing feedback with our Senate colleagues so we can swiftly get to work on a path forward in Congress to respond to the political situation in Ukraine and Eastern Europe that safeguards Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Europe’s energy security and broader regional stability. Efforts are underway to enhance our laws that will empower the Biden administration with tools to work with our allies to prepare penalties for Putin amid his provocations, and increase aid to Ukraine.”
Last week, Shaheen voted against legislation proposed by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) that would sanction Russia specifically for its proposed Nord Stream 2 project, an expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline system, a set of pipelines through the Baltic Sea first built in 1997 to increase sales of natural gas from Russia to Europe and reduce Russia’s reliance on natural gas pipelines to Europe that go through Ukraine.
Shaheen did not disagree with Cruz in regard to opposition to Nord Stream 2, but said that the legislation would provide Russia with an excuse to withdraw from ongoing diplomacy between Russia and the Biden Administration.
The legislation failed 55-45, with every Republican except for Rand Paul and six Democrats voting for Cruz’s measure, including Shaheen’s fellow Granite State Senator, Maggie Hassan.
While relations between Ukraine and Russia have been tense for much of the 21st Century, tensions escalated in 2013 after protests ousted a pro-Russian administration in Ukraine. In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea on the pretext of abuses against the Russian population in the region and the improper transfer of the territory from Russia to Ukraine in the 1960s when both were part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Tensions between the two countries have also continued in regard to separatist groups in the Donbas region, a part of eastern Ukraine with a large Russian population.