December 18, 2015

Rep. Costello’s statement in support of Ukraine


Rep. Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), who represents the 6th Congressional District in Pennsylvania and is a member of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, offered a statement of support for Ukraine in conjunction with Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s (D-Ohio) special order in the House of Representatives on December 1, which aimed to address the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine. 

Rep. Kaptur stated: “Ukrainians are fighting to choose their own path, and surely America, with our moral leadership, can find a way to help the beleaguered people of Ukraine survive the siege and the onset of a bitter winter, with climates that can be unforgiving, with temperatures falling as low or more than 25 degrees below zero.” 

Rep. Costello was unable to attend the special order, but the following statement was released by his office.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Ohio, Ms. Kaptur, for organizing this special order this evening and bringing this important alliance with Ukraine to the forefront.

The Ukrainian heritage, and its people, play a critical role in the cultural fabric of southeastern Pennsylvania.

Just this morning, I had the privilege to meet with Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly and reaffirm our support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of Ukraine.

Mr. Speaker, our relationship with Ukraine is vital to our national security interest and we must continue to foster strong bilateral relations as Ukraine continues to face threats to its status as a sovereign nation.

So long as Russia continues to pose a destabilizing force at Ukraine’s borders and supports rebel groups in eastern Ukraine, Congress and the administration must remain steadfast in our support for the Ukrainian people and their freedom.

The administration must follow through on the commitment set forth in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 to provide Ukraine with much-needed military aid, both lethal and non-lethal.

Reportedly, not even half the aid authorized last December has been delivered. Further, a recent article in The Washington Post noted that the quality of the U.S.-supplied gear, including Humvees, is “little more than junk” – there is barely any protection on the windows and doors – while the non-lethal military aid provided to protect Ukraine military forces is obsolete.

Mr. Speaker, this is unacceptable and our allies deserve better. In an effort to keep our nation safe and to provide assistance to our allies, the National Defense Authorization Act was recently signed into law. This includes an authorization for $300 million in military aid, including lethal, to support Ukraine.

And currently stalled in the House is bill HR 955, that would authorize the secretary of defense to provide assistance (including training, equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature, logistics support, supplies and services) to the military and national security forces of Ukraine through the end of the next fiscal year.

Mr. Speaker, I call on my colleagues to act on this legislation in an expeditious manner and bring it to the floor for a vote.

We cannot let our Ukrainian allies on the frontlines defend their freedom and sovereignty without meaningful support. The administration must follow through on our word.

Again, I thank Congresswoman Kaptur for organizing tonight’s special order and her unwavering dedication to Ukraine and the Ukrainian American community.