Kyiv, Ukraine–Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today participated in a media availability along with additional members of a Congressional delegation visiting Ukraine. A transcript of Rep. Engel’s opening remarks follows.

“Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me first start off by saying how happy I am to be in Ukraine, how much I feel a part of the revolution that happened here, that Ukrainians on the Maidan were an inspiration to so many millions of people all around the world, and that I think not only Ukraine has a stake in these elections on May 25th, but that the whole free world has a stake in these elections. We have to make sure that these elections are held, that they are actively participated in. And that’s the answer to Putin. The answer to Putin is that he’s not going to crush a free and democratic Ukraine because the people of Ukraine will not stand for it. And I think that’s the most important thing.

“We in our delegation here, the United States Congress, is a bipartisan delegation from both political parties and we are all united in the fact that we support Ukraine in its struggle for freedom, and we want to do everything we can to help Ukraine.

“We met with our Vice President yesterday, Joe Biden, who was here, and he issued a statement today saying that there will be more money and support for Ukraine, support for holding these elections, financial support on May 25th, and that the United States will continue to be engaged. So I just want to say to the Ukrainian people that the United States stands with you, the United States supports you, and the United States knows how important your struggle for freedom is, because your struggle for freedom is really everybody’s struggle for freedom. And I am delighted and honored to be here.

“Thank you.”