Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H. Res. 1162, which renews calls for Russia to end hostilities that violate Ukraine’s sovereignty, reaffirms the House’s commitment to Ukraine’s independence and security, and urges the president to hold Russia accountable for its aggressive behavior. Passage of the resolution comes in the wake of Russia’s seizure last month of Ukrainian ships and crew in the Azov Sea.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Ed Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“Last month’s Russian attack on Ukrainian vessels attempting to pass through the Kerch Strait is a dramatic reminder of Vladimir Putin’s continued aggression.

This was not an isolated incident. Russia has opened a new front in the Sea of Azov, where it is attempting to choke off Ukrainian imports and exports, and greatly undermine Ukraine’s economy.

This is a dangerous escalation. In the past, Moscow has attempted to disguise its armed intervention in Ukraine by claiming that its troops and weapons in the eastern regions belong to the separatist entities there. Of course, it also tries to hide that it controls these separatist groups. But now Russia is openly using its own military against Ukraine in the territory of Crimea that it has illegally occupied and annexed.

The United States and its allies and partners must hold Russia accountable. Failure to do so may be interpreted by Moscow as a green light to go even further, a miscalculation that could result in a dangerous military escalation.

This resolution sends two messages: the first is to the Ukrainian people to demonstrate that we remain committed to assisting them in their fight for freedom, and the second is to Moscow to make clear that the U.S. will oppose Russian aggression wherever it occurs. I urge the president to ensure by his words and actions that Moscow understands the potential consequences of its actions and the commitment of the United States to the freedom, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”