03.11.16

Senator David Perdue Calls For Unity With EU On Russia Sanctions

Sanctions must remain in place until Putin ends his aggression and returns Crimea to Ukraine.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry expressing his concern over the pending renewal of the European Union’s (EU) sanctions against Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Continuing his efforts to address global security concerns, Senator Perdue attended the Munich Security Conference this year where the pending renewal of EU sanctions on Russia was discussed. The sanctions are set to expire on July 31, 2016.

“Any loosening of the sanctions regime against Russia would send a dangerous message at a time when Putin has refused to change his policies toward Ukraine and threatens others in the region,” wrote Senator Perdue. “I am particularly concerned about Putin’s hostility toward the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. These states are our frontline NATO allies. The United States must do more to support Baltic security and counter Kremlin propaganda that fuels discontent among Russian speakers in the region.”

“As we take stronger action, the United States should also press harder to convince our NATO partners that the alliance needs to collectively demonstrate its ironclad commitment to the defense of the Baltic countries, including at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland,” continued Senator Perdue. “I urge the administration to exercise more active American leadership and engage with our European partners to make sure the EU renews its Russia sanctions in July. These sanctions must remain in place until Putin ends his aggression and returns Crimea to Ukraine.”

The full text of the letter can be found below and here.

Dear Secretary Kerry,

After attending this year's Munich Security Conference, I write to express my concern that the European Union (EU) will not renew sanctions against Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine.

I applaud the EU for recently extending its Crimea-related sanctions on nearly 150 Russian officials and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, but sectoral sanctions against the Russian economy must also be renewed by July 31, 2016. A number of European officials have visited Moscow recently and announced their desire to see sectoral sanctions withdrawn over the summer.

Such action would be completely unjustified. Russia continues to occupy Crimea and undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity in its eastern regions. Vladimir Putin has now openly admitted to the presence of Russian nationals in Ukraine “who carried out certain tasks, including in the military sphere.” He violates the Minsk agreement and refuses to grant Kyiv control of Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders. Russia also persists in its war of attrition against the Ukrainian economy. Moscow recently banned the import of Ukrainian agricultural products and imposed new tariffs after Kyiv and the EU began to implement a free trade agreement.

This is not behavior that warrants sanctions rollback. Any loosening of the sanctions regime against Russia would send a dangerous message at a time when Putin has refused to change his policies toward Ukraine and threatens others in the region.

I am particularly concerned about Putin’s hostility toward the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. These states are our frontline NATO allies. The United States must do more to support Baltic security and counter Kremlin propaganda that fuels discontent among Russian speakers in the region. As we take stronger action, the United States should also press harder to convince our NATO partners that the alliance needs to collectively demonstrate its ironclad commitment to the defense of the Baltic countries, including at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland.

I urge the administration to exercise more active American leadership and engage with our European partners to make sure the EU renews its Russia sanctions in July. These sanctions must remain in place until Putin ends his aggression and returns Crimea to Ukraine.

Sincerely,


David A. Perdue