March 26, 2015

House resolution supports lethal weapons systems to aid Ukraine’s defense


WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives on March 23 overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 162 “calling on the president to provide Ukraine with military assistance to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The vote was 348 for and 48 against.

The measure, which was approved with strong bipartisan support, resolves that “the House of Representatives strongly urges the president to fully and immediately exercise the authorities provided by Congress to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weapon systems to enhance the ability of the people of Ukraine to defend their sovereign territory from the unprovoked and continuing aggression of the Russian Federation.” It refers to the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 18.

The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and had 12 co-sponsors: Edward Royce (R-Calif.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Devin Nunes (R- Calif.), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), Sander Levin (D-Mich.), Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Kay Granger (R-Texas) and William Keating (D-Mass.).

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued the following statement after the House passed H. Res. 162:

“The House reflected the will of the people again today in passing a bipartisan call-to-action to help the Ukrainian people. There is an overwhelming support for sending military aid to help address the crisis in Ukraine. Without action from this administration, Russia’s aggression will continue to be left unchecked. While Congress has already provided the White House with the authorities, resources, and political support to aid the government and people of Ukraine, today’s vote is yet another sign that the American people support action to help our ally. I applaud the Foreign Affairs Committee for its work, and I hope the president will take action and reassure our friends and allies that we stand behind them.”

The resolution states that “the existence of an independent, democratic, and prosperous Ukraine is in the national interest of the United States” and that “the Russian Federation under President Vladimir Putin has engaged in relentless political, economic and military aggression to subvert the independence and violate the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” It refers to “the illegal and forcible occupation of Crimea by Russian military and security forces” and “the establishment and control of violent separatist proxies in other areas of Ukraine.”

H. Res. 162 also notes that Secretary of Defense Ashton Cater and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey have both expressed their inclination to support providing weapons to Ukraine.