U.S. Sen. Rob Portman: It is time to stand by our allies

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee took a momentous step today by voting to ratify the NATO applications for these two allies of the United States, Sweden and Finland.

I was proud to vote to ratify and speak in Committee about why this expansion is so good for our national security, to have these two countries with strong militaries and strong economies, join our NATO alliance. I hope that the leadership of the Senate will put this legislation on the floor as soon as possible so that we can show the world we are enthusiastically supporting the joining of these two countries to the NATO alliance. We need to continue to demonstrate global solidarity in this war.

President Vladimir Putin, of course, had hoped to divide NATO and divide Europe and divide the West, but he underestimated what would happen. He underestimated the foresight and wisdom of the people of Sweden and Finland, just as he underestimated the courage and resiliency of the people of Ukraine.

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(…) In 1994, after the Berlin wall came down, Ukraine signed what’s called the Budapest Memorandum. It was a treaty where Ukraine agreed to give up all of its nuclear weapons, and they had a lot of them, in exchange for security guarantees from Russia, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom — guarantees that we would all respect the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.

That was in 1994. So much for Russia’s commitment. I’ve seen the spirit and perseverance of Ukrainians firsthand when I have visited the country. I have been there seven, eight, nine times. I was there right after the Revolution of Dignity, as it’s called, in 2014, where Ukrainians decided to turn away from a Russian-backed and corrupt government and stand with us and Europe to pursue a hopeful future of freedom and democracy.

(…) At this critical juncture, we need to work with our allies to provide Ukraine with what they need to defeat evil. To protect their homeland and to defend democracy.

— Excerpted from Senate floor remarks on Wednesday