WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke on the Senate floor against Russia’s continued aggression toward Ukraine.
Following are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:
“[I] want to talk for just a minute about the continued outrageous behavior of Russia in Ukraine. The most recent incident where Russia, in all, has manufactured another crisis so they could take advantage of whatever they think the moment is to take advantage of. Clearly, this has been allowed to go on too long. While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, I think the NATO countries, including ours, have great interest in what's happening in Ukraine and the continued aggressive behavior of Putin. You know, we had a joint session, the only joint session the President of Ukraine has spoken at. A few years ago he made the point that while they appreciated the humanitarian help, I thought the most telling moment in that speech was when the President of Ukraine said ‘we appreciate the humanitarian help. We appreciate the blankets,’ but he said ‘you can't fight the Russians with blankets.’
“That was a time, where under the Obama administration, we were not giving Ukraine either the defensive or offensive capacity they needed. President Trump has made a different decision, which I support, in helping the Ukrainians defend themselves, but I also support whatever we can do at this moment to let it be known to Putin that we are supportive of Ukraine's efforts to have an independent, democratic government, that we will continue to be supportive of that, we will continue to be helpful in that effort, and President Putin had better be careful that he doesn't take one step too far. In fact, he's already taken steps further than should have been allowed but those steps, the seizure of Crimea, the invasion of Eastern Ukraine by people that were clearly Russian soldiers in plain green uniforms should not have been allowed. [The] President has to deal with that, but we need to deal with that in a way that gives Ukraine every help they need in dealing with that themselves. Whether the president should make that point by not meeting with Putin or whether he should make that point by meeting with Putin and clearly express not only our concern, but our absolute rejection of the efforts that the Russian government has made toward Ukraine in that aggressive way, I don't know, but I do know it's time for us to be very clear of how we feel about that and our commitment to the NATO countries involved along the Russian border that we absolutely would respond if there is any aggression toward those NATO countries and, frankly, should be aggressive in our efforts to help Ukraine defend itself.”