CHICAGO — With tensions in Eastern Europe continuing to squeeze American allies, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today detailed the “Russian Aggression Prevention Act,” a sanctions bill Sen. Kirk co-authored. The bill was introduced this week by 23 Members of the Senate, including Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Language added by Sen. Kirk would prohibit the United States from sharing sensitive missile defense information with the Russian government. The bill also aims to substantially increase U.S. support for Poland and our other NATO allies in the region and to deter further Russian aggression by imposing tough sanctions on top Russian companies and officials for Russian actions in Ukraine. The bill will provide support for Ukraine to prevent further Russian coercion and intervention.
Sen. Kirk was joined today by Andriy Pravednyk, Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago, Frank Spula, President of the Polish American Congress, and Robert Rusiecki, Acting Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, to call for immediate action to deter any further Russian aggression against Ukraine and provide additional assistance to our NATO ally, Poland.
Sen. Kirk’s call for action comes as Chicagoland’s Polish-American community celebrates Polish Constitution Day, which celebrates the ratification of the Polish Constitution on May 3, 1791.
“America’s support for our allies must, at all times, be steadfast and non-negotiable,” Sen. Kirk said. “The ‘Russian Aggression Prevention Act’ will show our support for allies like Ukraine and Poland and show that continued Russian advancement into sovereign countries will have serious consequences.”
The legislation would:
• Prohibit the sharing of sensitive missile defense information with Russia
• Impose sanctions on four key Russian banks, state-owned oil and gas monopolies Gazprom and Rosneft, and the major Russian arms dealer Rosoboronexport
• Substantially increase U.S. and NATO support for Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia
• Require the President to accelerate implementation of missile defense in Europe and provide other missile defense support for our NATO allies
On March 26, 2014, Senator Kirk authored a letter with 37 other Senators to President Obama requesting that any plans to share sensitive missile and defense information be canceled effective immediately, due to Russia’s ongoing military activities in Ukraine. The letter can be read here. The Administration’s response noted that military relations with Russia have been suspended, but “This Administration, in keeping with previous administrations, has sought cooperation with Russia on missile defense. Genuine missile defense cooperation with Russia has the potential to strengthen the defensive capabilities of the United States and NATO against the ballistic missile threat from states such as Iran and Syria.”
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine demonstrate clearly that Vladimir Putin’s aim is to destabilize the region and prevent a Europe which is whole, free, and at peace,” Senator Kirk said. “This legislation is the firm response that is needed to show Russia that aggression carries substantial costs. The United States will always stand with Ukraine and with our reliable NATO allies