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Condemning Violation of Ukrainian Sovereignty, Independence, and Territorial Intergrity

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.

Just today, a CNN camera crew reported evidence that Russian troops are literally digging in on the Crimean peninsula, including the installation of minefields along the new, illegal border they have created with the Ukraine. The world community cannot stand idly by in the face of this unprovoked Russian aggression against another sovereign member of the United Nations. The House, by passing this resolution, will be taking an important step towards that end.

There are several provisions in this resolution calling on the new Ukrainian government to implement measures to end political corruption, respect the human rights and civil liberties of ethnic minorities in the Ukraine, and so on. These and other reforms are essential for Ukraine to truly consolidate its revolution and ensure a transition to a truly open, democratic society.
But the people of the Ukraine will find it difficult to maintain their freedom and independence if their largest neighbor continues its illegal occupation of the Crimea, threatens additional areas of eastern Ukraine with invasion, and takes steps--overt and covert--to undermine the new Ukrainian government. The resolution before the House today calls upon the Obama administration to boycott the upcoming G8 summit and work with our partners to expel Russia from the G8. Given that the Russian government refuses to recognize Ukraine's new government and is proceeding with a sham ``referendum'' on Crimea's future, I believe the Administration must take the steps called for in this resolution. I also call upon the Administration to keep the Congress fully and currently informed on any indications that further Russian aggression may be attempted elsewhere in the Ukraine.

There is one amendment to this resolution that the committee adopted that concerns me, and it involves a call to increase U.S. natural gas exports. Simply, the U.S. does not currently possess the ability to export LNG to Ukraine or other European allies, and export facilities currently under construction will not be operational until late 2015, at the earliest. It is opportunistic and frankly not based in fact, to have natural gas companies and their allies in Congress using this crisis as a catalyst for increased LNG exports.

Further, the U.S. does not have a state run energy conglomerate like Russia, and we cannot simply turn our energy exports up or down following a single executive decree. LNG export terminals cost billions and the companies making these investments will not proceed with their construction unless they have already secured LNG supply contracts, typically with Asian countries, like Japan, China, and India, where high natural gas prices will result in the greatest profits. If our concern is ensuring Ukraine has reliable energy sources, we should be talking to our European partners about how best to accomplish that goal.

Again, I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.

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