Durbin, Portman Pledge Support To Ukraine President Zelensky

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Co-Chairs of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, spoke today with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky about the need for Congress to approve billions of dollars in emergency military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, the need to support refugees, and possible war crimes committed by Russian forces in Ukraine, particularly as Western officials warn that Putin continues to target cities and civilian infrastructure, including nuclear power plants. Durbin and Portman were joined by many members of the U.S. House and Senate during today’s virtual meeting.

“President Zelensky is a tireless and courageous leader for the people of Ukraine. His call for unity in the face of Russian barbarity has inspired the world,” said Durbin. “Today’s meeting reaffirmed our commitment to do everything we can to provide military equipment and humanitarian relief. As Russia continues its unprovoked and illegal attacks, we will continue to work with NATO and our allies to support President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people.”

“Today’s call with President Zelenskyy was sobering and inspiring,” said Portman. “He again proved that he is the right leader for Ukraine during this historic period.  Despite the fact that each day Russia continues to escalate its attacks against Ukraine, President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people show bravery and resolve in the face of tremendous adversity. The urgency of the United States and its allies to support freedom for the people of Ukraine has never been greater. We must eliminate every obstacle to providing every measure of support to Ukraine to include finding a way for the United States to compensate our Eastern European partners who wish to donate their Soviet style aircraft to Ukraine. There is no time to lose. Salva Ukraini--Glory to Ukraine”

More than one million Ukrainians have already fled Ukraine for neighboring countries in record time while another million are displaced within Ukraine. The U.N. Refugee Agency estimates that as many as four million Ukrainians may flee in the coming weeks and months.

Earlier this week, the Biden Administration designated Ukraine for TPS, following a letter led by Durbin, Portman, and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ukrainians currently in the U.S. will now be eligible for TPS, including Ukrainian students, tourists, and workers.

The White House also asked Congress for $10 billion in humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine, which can help neighboring countries like Poland and Hungary to provide emergency relief, food, shelter, and medical care. Durbin spoke on the Senate floor last week urging Congress to approve this funding.