Durbin Reaffirms U.S. Relations With Ukraine, Baltics On Senate Floor

In speech, Durbin highlights bipartisan bill to strengthen our partnerships with the Baltics, critical NATO allies facing Russian aggression

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, spoke on the Senate floor highlighting efforts the Senate is taking to strengthen relations with Ukraine and surrounding countries, including the Baltics. Tomorrow, Durbin and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), Durbin’s Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, are hosting a meeting with members of the Ukrainian Parliament.


Durbin said, “Putin’s unprovoked and unconscionable war on Ukraine has revealed what he really is all about. He’s a tyrant, seething with resentments, driven by delusions of great mother Russia, willing to slaughter innocent men, women, and children to restore a lost Russian empire. We know from his current ravings and his past actions that Putin’s ruthless pursuit of Russia’s lost empire did not begin with this war, and if we don’t do something about it, it won’t end there either.”


Durbin also spoke on the close relationship between the U.S. and the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Durbin and Baltic Freedom Caucus Co-Chair Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are introducing the Baltic Defense and Deterrence Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation that directs the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense (DoD) to establish and implement economic and security initiatives to deepen U.S. ties with the Baltic States. 


Durbin continued, “In 2008, after Russia had annexed parts of Georgia, the President of Poland visited Georgia’s capital of Tbilisi and warned of the threat posed by Russia to the entire region. He said ‘Today, Georgia. Tomorrow, Ukraine. The day after tomorrow, the Baltic States and later perhaps, the time will come for my country, Poland.’ Well, today Senator Grassley and I are introducing a bill to discourage Russia from extending Putin’s war into NATO territory and forcing the alliance to invoke its Article 5 collection security commitment.”


More than 3.8 million Ukrainians have fled their country since February 24. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution cosponsored by Durbin condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal. Last week, the Biden Administration announced another $1 billion in new funding towards humanitarian assistance for those affected by Putin’s war in Ukraine, along with plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression through a full range of legal immigration pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.


 Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.