“I condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
This baseless decision and the sham referendums held under duress in those four regions directly contravene the UN Charter and the most basic principles of international law. Together with Russia’s partial mobilization and dangerous nuclear saber rattling, they constitute a serious and dangerous escalation.
The dark times when nations could take a bite out of another sovereign nation and get away with it must not return. Crimea is Ukraine. Donetsk is Ukraine. Luhansk is Ukraine. Kherson is Ukraine. Zaporizhzhia is Ukraine.
We must repeat time and time again that we will never recognize any of Russia’s illegal and forcible attempted annexations of any Ukrainian territory – not today, not tomorrow, not ever. That is why, having co-authored the Crimea Annexation Non-Recognition Act in the United States Congress, I introduced last week the Ukrainian Territorial Integrity Act. This would prohibit the United States Government from recognizing any referendums in Russian-occupied, sovereign Ukrainian territory. I urge my NATO PA colleagues to do the same in their national parliaments.
President Putin’s reckless escalation will only strengthen our resolve. Today, as Putin celebrates a farcical annexation vote, the United States House of Representatives voted to provide $12.3 billion in additional aid for Ukraine’s defense. Putin’s choice to double down on a bloody, unprovoked, and criminal war of choice only condemns more Russian citizens to death in a fight they cannot win. His actions must be met with a firm, determined, unified response, which must include more support for Ukraine and further crippling sanctions.
We will also continue to support efforts to hold Russia accountable for its crimes, including through the establishment of a special tribunal to prosecute the crime of aggression.
And we will not be intimidated by Russia’s use of energy as a weapon.
We will remain united in our efforts and resolute in the defense of our shared democratic values and principles. Ukraine’s original sin, in the eyes of Vladimir Putin, was to have the audacity to chart its own, independent path and create a government comprised from democratic institutions to carry out the will of its people. With its assault against Ukraine, Russia has sought to redefine the international rules-based order and crush the democratic aspirations of free nations. Our nations and parliaments will continue to stand firmly by Ukraine, its people and its democratically elected institutions and support its sovereignty, territorial integrity, right to self-defense and self-determination, including its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
As Russia escalates its war in Ukraine, it must also know that Allies’ determination to respond to any escalation beyond Ukraine remains rock solid. As the North Atlantic Council reiterated yesterday, any deliberate attack against critical infrastructure will be met with a united and determined response. In this context, we support ongoing investigations into the multiple leaks in the two Nord Stream pipelines, which Allies and invitees Sweden and Finland have asserted bear all the signs of deliberate, reckless and irresponsible acts of sabotage.”