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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who visited eastern Ukraine three weeks ago, issued the following statement on today’s referendum in two eastern regions of Ukraine: 

“Today’s referendum in the separatist-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine is not only illegal, but a recognition of separatist weakness. Even with strong support from Moscow, the separatists have not been able to seize large areas or rally the population to their agenda. Opinion polls show that only a small minority favors annexation by Russia. As I saw first-hand while visiting Dnipropetrovsk three weeks ago, a majority of Ukrainians in the east are determined to participate in the election for a new president on May 25th. That election is crucial to Ukraine’s future, and the U.S. and our allies must work aggressively to ensure its success. Ukraine is in crisis and it demands the full and constant engagement of the Obama Administration.” 

Note:  Chairman Royce, along with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the Committee’s Ranking Member, led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine last month, visiting Kyiv and the city of Dnipropetrovsk, in eastern Ukraine.