WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke yesterday on the Senate floor about the importance of pushing back on Russian aggression.

“It seems clear to all of us on the Foreign Relations Committee that have had the opportunity to travel to Eastern Europe to visit with our NATO allies that Vladimir Putin has a worldview and an agenda that is in sharp contrast with our own,” said Senator Coons.

“I believe what we stand for is the universal values on which we forged the transatlantic alliance more than 70 years ago,” said Senator Coons. “A transatlantic alliance that has been a force for stability and good in the world; a transatlantic alliance that has secured peace in Western Europe and North America ever since the close of the Second World War. But a transatlantic alliance that is rooted in values: values of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, rule of law, and democracy, and an opposition to authoritarianism.”

“Two bills that are currently gathering co-sponsors, which I hope our colleagues will review and consider joining us in co-sponsoring: one is S.341, the Russia Sanctions Review Act of 2017, which currently has 18 co-sponsors, and the other is S.94, the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, that has 20 co-sponsors—10 Republicans and 10 Democrats,” said Senator Coons. “In both cases, we are proud to have a very broad range of both Republicans and Democrats engaged in important legislation that ensures that Russia pays a price for breaking the rules, that starts by taking action to support the sanctions against the Russian government for its illegal annexation of Crimea, and for its egregious human rights violations in Syria, and for meddling in the U.S. election. It prevents the lifting of sanctions on Russia until the Russian government ceases the activities that caused the sanctions to be imposed in the first place. And it supports civil society, pro-democracy, anti-corruption activists in Russia and Europe to show that we—many of us—are determined, as members of the Foreign Relations Committee, as members of the Appropriations Committee, as Senators, not as partisans, that we intend to fund the tools that will enable the United States and our NATO allies to push back on Russian aggression.”

“We have no quarrel with the Russian people. We are here because there is nothing Vladimir Putin's regime would love more than to see his actions divide us in this chamber and divide us in this country from our vital allies in Europe and divide the whole North Atlantic community that for seven decades has brought peace and stability to Europe, has brought prosperity to the United States, not as an act of charity, but as investment in the best interest of security,” said Senator Coons. “We are here to say with one voice that we will stand up to Russian aggression that undermines democracy and violates human rights.”

Full video and audio available here.

 

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