U.S. Congressman Brad Wenstrup issued the following statement today:

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a direct violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and their right to self-governance. Unfortunately, President Putin has shown no signs of backing down from his unprovoked, unjustified war, and I pray for the innocent people Putin puts in harm’s way. 

I have recently been on zoom calls with members of Ukrainian military leadership and members of Ukraine’s Parliament, and I applaud the bravery of the Ukrainian people and their leaders.

President Zelensky has refused to leave Ukraine and has stayed with his military

The Ukrainian people have demonstrated on the world stage an incredibly strong will to fight for their freedom, and Ukrainian President Zelensky’s courage in the face of Putin’s evil has been remarkable. I believe the United States must continue to work with our NATO allies and European partners to provide any needed lethal aid and humanitarian support to Ukraine without delay.

In 2005, Vladimir Putin gave a speech in which he said that the fall of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th Century and it is clear to me he wants to reestablish that evil empire. Putin’s war is one that is a fight between democracy and authoritarianism, freedom versus oppression. The West is more united now than in recent decades, and I am tremendously encouraged by the actions taken by so many freedom-loving nations around the world.

Although sanctions take time to implement, and President Putin has, unfortunately, shown that he is prepared for them, I am pleased to see the United States and our allies sanction Russia, Putin, and the oligarchs who empower him. We have targeted the Russian Central Bank and removed select Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which is the high-security network that connects thousands of financial institutions around the world.

Some of the new sanctions, especially involving Russia’ Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, were the same sanctions that the previous administration had in place, but President Biden removed them, helping President Putin.

The world must know that Russia’s actions exclude them from any legitimate seat in the international community. That is why I introduced H. Res. 947, a bipartisan resolution that reaffirms the House of Representative’s unequivocal backing of the Ukrainian people, our commitment to working with our allies and partners to ensure Ukraine is equipped to defend itself, and unwavering support for a secure, democratic, and independent Ukraine.

On March 2, 2022, I voted in favor of H. Res. 956, which expresses the House’s support for the people of Ukraine, demands an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Russian forces, and backs the continued use of sanctions to fully isolate the Putin regime.

To that end, I have cosponsored legislation aimed at making further invasion prohibitively costly to President Putin and the Russian Federation, such as the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act (H.R. 6742) and continue to call on President Biden to nominate a U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine without any further delay. The Biden Administration must also recommit itself to American energy independence and stop purchasing Russian oil and gas.

While it is important to pursue every available avenue for diplomacy in seeking to end this war, President Putin has thus far proven to be unwilling. I will continue to work with my colleagues here in Congress towards policies that punish President Putin for his aggression and provide the necessary weapons, assets, and humanitarian resources to the Ukrainian people to defend themselves and their nation against Russia. We must continue to put the pressure on President Putin until he ends his unjust war against Ukraine, and his troops are driven back into Russia.

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