WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening welcomed unanimous passage in the House of Representatives of his comprehensive legislation to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.  In April, Rep. Engel introduced the Stability and Democracy (STAND) for Ukraine Act (H.R. 5094), which clarifies the position of the United States on Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea, tightens sanctions on Russia, and calls for a comprehensive U.S. strategy to combat Russian propaganda.

“We shouldn’t kid ourselves about the intentions of Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin,” said Rep. Engel this evening in the House of Representatives. “He has trampled his neighbors’ sovereignty; worked to undermine NATO and Western unity; and posed a real threat to America’s work and the work of our friends over the past seven decades to build a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.”

Representative Engel continued, “My legislation underscores America’s support for Ukraine’s right to defend itself, and it keeps pressure on Russia so long as Russia’s criminal behavior in Ukraine continues.”

The STAND for Ukraine Act tightens sanctions on Russia and rejects any form of recognition of Russian rule over Crimea, as was American policy toward the 50-year Soviet occupation of the Baltic States.  It also directs the State Department to implement a strategy to respond to Russian propaganda and disinformation.

The bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this evening.

In Depth: The STAND for Ukraine Act, H.R. 5094

  • Clarifies existing U.S. policy toward Ukraine and explicitly acknowledges Ukraine’s right to self-defense while linking any sanctions relief for Russia to timely, complete, and verifiable implementation of the Minsk framework. 
  • Explicitly roots U.S. Crimea policy in the non-recognition doctrine followed by the United States during the Soviet Union’s fifty-year occupation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  • Codifies existing Executive Order sanctions imposed on Russia for the forcible and illegal occupation of Crimea.
  • Tightens existing U.S. sanctions on Russia for its violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity by authorizing a strict sanctions-evasion framework and requiring a regular report on foreign financial institutions that are illicitly controlling Ukraine state-owned assets—namely Russian banks in Crimea. 
  • Makes it more difficult for Russia to buy defense equipment or services from NATO members.
  • Directs the Secretary of State to develop and implement a strategy to respond to Russian disinformation and propaganda efforts toward Russian-speaking areas in countries bordering Russia.