Countering Russia's Aggression in Ukraine

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Mar 9, 2018

The United States remains committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and has taken two recent actions to help advance that goal.

On March 2, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would extend for an additional year sanctions against Russia and Russian individuals that were first imposed by a series of Executive Orders in 2014.

Among the reasons for extending the sanctions are Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea and its use of force in eastern Ukraine. Such actions, President Trump noted in a letter transmitted to Congress, continue “to undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets.” President Trump said Russia's actions in and policies toward Ukraine “continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

In another move aimed at countering Russian aggression in Ukraine, the President recently made the decision to provide Ukraine enhanced defensive weapons, including the Javelin anti-armor weapons system, totaling $47 million. In its press release, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, “The Javelin [anti-tank] system will help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity in order to meet its national defense requirements. ...The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Though Russia has warned that supplying Ukraine with weapons is a provocative action, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has noted, “Defensive weapons are not provocative unless you're an aggressor, and clearly, Ukraine is not an aggressor, since it's their own territory where the fighting is happening.”

There can be no “business as usual with Russia” absent a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine situation, “which must begin with Russia's adherence to the Minsk agreements,” according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

As recent U.S. actions show, the United States will continue to stand by Ukraine as it faces ongoing Russian aggression, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives and displaced more than 1.6 million Ukrainians.