Durbin Visits Ukraine, Greek Island at Center of Syrian Refugee Crisis

[SPRINGFIELD, IL] – U.S. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) returned to Illinois after four days in Greece and Ukraine. Durbin first traveled to the island of Lesbos in Greece, where thousands of refugees have come ashore after fleeing the violence in Syria.


The situation in Syria is the humanitarian crisis of our time,” said Durbin. “The magnitude of the crisis is clear in the numbers of Syrian men, women, and children fleeing the violence, but the human stories behind the statistics give heartbreaking urgency for us to act. I saw firsthand how Greece is accepting refugees and helping to resettle them as best they can. The United States continues to lead the way in financial assistance, but we have a moral obligation to do all we can to help these people in need. My colleagues and I will continue to push for the United States to resettle more refugees as the crisis grows.”  


Durbin also traveled to Kyiv, where he met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and several members of the Ukrainian Parliament to discuss the American and Ukrainian response to continued Russian aggression in Eastern Ukraine.  


America's relationship with Ukraine has never been more important," said Durbin. "Ukraine's leaders are bravely focused on key reforms to modernize the economic, security, judicial, and energy sectors—all while resisting the illegal seizure of Ukrainian territory by Russian-backed separatists. We discussed ongoing Russian violations of the Minsk II agreement and   the importance of continued U.S. and European Union sanctions on Russia as long as Russian President Putin fails to comply with the Minsk agreement. It's important that the international community holds President Putin's regime to account and reject these threatening destabilizing and anachronistic Russian actions.”


Durbin traveled with Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).