Senator John Hoeven today cosponsored the Russian Aggression Act, legislation introduced by ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would deter further Russian aggression in Ukraine and the region by providing a comprehensive strategy for the United States to address the deteriorating situation in a clear and decisive manner. Hoeven met with officials in Norway, the Baltic states and Moldova this month and met with Ukrainian officials in March.
"During the past several weeks, the Senate has been working to provide Ukraine with assistance to deter Russian aggression and support their democracy," said Hoeven. "Unfortunately, the current sanctions we have implemented have been insufficient in deterring Russian aggression in Europe, and we have seen the situation in eastern Ukraine continue to deteriorate. It is imperative that the U.S. work to stop this current trajectory, which is why I am cosponsoring the Russian Aggression Act. This legislation would implement a strong, comprehensive strategy to change the current dynamic in ways that will benefit the U.S. and our NATO allies in Europe."
Corker's legislation provides a comprehensive three-pronged approach to address Russia's aggression in Europe. The bill would strengthen NATO and deter Russian aggression by imposing penalties against Russia for its actions in Ukraine.
The bill provides several other key provisions, including key energy measures that include providing authority for exports of U.S. natural gas to World Trade Organization members and encourages U.S. private sector investment in energy projects in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
"The events in Ukraine underscore the importance of developing our own domestic energy resources to achieve energy security, which is central to our economic and national security as well as the security of our allies," said Hoeven. "Producing more of our domestic energy resources also serves as a win-win. The European Union currently imports 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia, and half of this gas is transported via pipelines in Ukraine. The U.S. has the energy resources to reduce this dependence, and doing so opens new markets at home, creates jobs and grows our economy."
North Dakota and other states have forged trade ties with Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union, particularly in agricultural equipment and related products. Agricultural machinery is North Dakota's primary export to Ukraine, accounting for more than 75 percent of all exports to that country. Maintaining peace and stability in the region is important to protect North Dakota business interests in Ukraine and other areas of Eastern Europe.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).