Washington, D.C. – Rep. Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding yesterday’s illegal referendum in Ukraine’s Crimea region and the President’s decision today to impose additional sanctions on Russia.
“The referendum in Ukraine was illegal and will not be accepted by the international community. With the presence of more than 20,000 Russian occupation troops and no standards whatsoever for the vote, the referendum represented a clear violation of the Ukrainian constitution and international law. As the President and the G7 have continually stated, any discussion on the future of Crimea must include the legitimate, interim government of Ukraine.
“While I am hopeful that cooler heads will prevail in the long run, the first steps toward a resolution begin with Russian President Vladimir Putin halting his aggressive and provocative behavior. Until such steps occur, Mr. Putin can expect that business will not go on as usual, and that the international community will continue down the path of diplomatic and economic isolation of Russia. I am glad that President Obama imposed additional sanctions on Russia earlier today. Next, Congress will expedite its work on legislation to support Ukraine and impose penalties on Russia.”