CAPITOL HILL —
As the crisis in Ukraine continues, the U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty by Russian military forces, and calling for the deployment of international monitors in Crimea and other areas of Ukraine. The vote – a rare show of unity between congressional Republicans and Democrats as they sent their message to Moscow - was 403 in favor and six against.
Tuesday’s vote was also second House measure in less than a week to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine. Last week, the House passed a bill that would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to the new Ukrainian government. The Senate also is considering an aid package for Ukraine, but has not yet voted. Ukraine’s interim government is appealing to the United States and Europe for assistance.
Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer said Tuesday’s resolution shows where Americans stand on Russian intervention in Ukraine.
“The people of Ukraine who want to build a future based on democracy and freedom will hear us and be strengthened by our support,” said Hoyer.
With diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis stalled, some leading Republicans are calling for the United States to accelerate its export of natural gas, since Ukraine and a number of European countries are dependent on Russia for their energy needs. Republican Representative Luke Messer said Moscow should not be permitted to use energy as a political weapon.
“America should also take this opportunity to expand energy production and energy exports to send a clear message to Ukraine, Russia and our allies that America will not allow Russia to use its energy resources to intimidate the world,” said Messer.
On Wednesday, interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will visit the White House and go to the U.S. Capitol to meet with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez and members of the committee.