At press conference, Portman condemns Russian invasion of Ukraine, calls for further US action
March 2, 2022
At a press conference this afternoon, Senator Portman, Co-Chair of the Ukrainian Senate Caucus, discussed the latest developments regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stressed the need for additional tougher sanctions against the government and the Russian economy.
While delivering his speech, Portman displayed a flag given to him by Ukrainian soldiers during his visit to the “line of contact” in 2018.
A transcript of his remarks can be found below and a video can be found here.
“So I totally agree with what my colleagues said about the Russian oil ban.
“We need to do absolutely everything we can to help tighten the noose on Putin’s economy. And it’s absurd that we’re bringing over 600,000 barrels of oil a day from Russia at a time when we’re closing Keystone, 800,000 barrels a day and stifle our own production here. To me, that’s kind of a no-brainer. It’s totally unsustainable, what the current policy is. We have to go way beyond that. We have to make sure that we We are also doing everything we can to flood the area by providing the Ukrainians with the weapons they need to protect themselves.
“Several years ago I went to the line of contact, which is an understatement for the border between Ukrainian-controlled territory on one side and Russian-controlled territory on the other side in the east of Ukraine. At this contact line, I met a lot of really outstanding Ukrainian patriots. They gave me this flag and I found it today. And it says, “Warriors and patriots, glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes, Slava Ukraine”, so they say. And then the answer is, ‘glory to the heroes.’
“I was with 1,000 Ohioans in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday, people who came together to support Ukraine, not just Ukrainians, but Latvians, Lithuanians and Poles, others from the area. But the stories were unbelievable of family members back home joining the military for the first time, who were afraid for their children, their grandchildren and you see what is happening today, the horrific scenes in Ukraine It didn’t surprise me that Ukrainians fought and continue to fight for their homeland because I looked into the eyes of those soldiers and saw their patriotism, their sense of pride in their country. But I must say that I am discouraged today because glory to the heroes, they are warriors, they are Patriots, but they are poorly armed.
“The United States must do more. One thing we should do in terms of armament, in my opinion, is to help ensure that these planes that have been talked about are actually delivered to Ukraine, even if that means the United States of America steps in and tell our European allies who have planes that can be used with the Ukrainian air force, we will pay you or exchange other military equipment so that you can use these MIGs, these planes that Ukrainian pilots can fly in Ukraine. We should do more to provide drones to Ukraine. As you know, Turkey provided drones. That’s the kind of stuff they need. This is what the Ambassador of Ukraine told us when she was here the day before yesterday.
“As for the economic front to be tightened, this news includes saying that Russia should not have preferential access to our market. Currently, they have what is called the PNTR, permanent normal trade relations. It is a most favored nation status with the World Trade Organization. This should end. And every freedom-loving country in the world should prevent this access of Russian products to our markets. By the way, that would also include an increase of 50 cents a barrel of Russian oil if we did that because we give them preferential treatment under this agreement. So I appreciate being here with my colleagues and I appreciate their consistency and their willingness to speak on behalf of the Ukrainian people. We all speak for them.
“Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes.