Following White House Briefing On Ukraine, Durbin Reiterates The Need To Support Our Ally

WASHINGTON   In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, urged his colleagues to continue to support Ukraine amid Putin’s unjustified and unprovoked war.  During his speech, Durbin reiterated our commitment to Ukraine and emphasized that the NATO alliance is stronger than ever.  Yesterday, Senate leadership and key Committee Chairs and Ranking Members were briefed by the White House about Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Durbin said, “Russia continues to indiscriminately target civilian populations and infrastructure, killing tens of thousands of innocent Ukrainians and leaving countless more in the bitter dark and cold without access to electricity, water, or heat.  But the briefing also was astonishing—because it begged a bigger question, what has Vladimir Putin really accomplished with his cruel war?   I’ll tell you the answer:  Today, as a result of Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, the Western alliance is stronger than ever before.  Putin’s actions have only strengthened the resolve of the Ukrainian people to fight for a free and democratic country, as they press back against the Russian occupation and regain territory from Kharkiv to Kherson. Moreover, NATO is now stronger and more united, with two new countries—Sweden and Finland—soon joining the fold.  And just this week, NATO also recommitted to continue supporting Ukraine.”

Since February, the United States alone has committed billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, with defense articles delivered at record-breaking speed to support Ukraine’s efforts on the frontlines.  A few weeks ago, the White House requested another supplemental aid package for Ukraine, which Durbin supports. 

Durbin also reflected on his trip to Lithuania in February when he heard the news of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.  Durbin, Co-Chair of the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus, received the Aleksandras Stulginskis Star Award in Vilnius, Lithuania, only the second individual and first American to receive this award.  The award was granted to Durbin this June for his decades-long support of Lithuanian independence and democracy and his promotion of parliamentary values.  Durbin’s mother was born in Lithuania and came to the United States with her mother and siblings in 1911. 

“Many of you heard me speak of my mother who left Russian-occupied Lithuania.  It was no wonder my family tried to escape the Russian Czar and his heavy hand. That was the case in Eastern Europe for many countries.  It was no surprise that, when the Soviet Union collapsed, many of these same nations reached out to join our community of democracies and stand with us behind the shield that is NATO. Today, decades later, Lithuania is a thriving democracy and one of the many countries rallying to Ukraine's aid.  I want to commend Lithuania.  They have spoken out in courageous ways to stand up for democracy and freedom.  I'm proud of them,” Durbin said. 

Durbin concluded, “Now is not time for the United States and the rest of the free world to let up in our support for Ukraine.  Like the Ukrainian people, we must continue fighting on and stand together in defense of democracy.”

 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.