WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Russia:

“For the sake of the people of Ukraine, I hope that yesterday’s agreement in Minsk will end the violence. But we already had a Minsk Agreement and it’s clear that Vladimir Putin’s promises on Ukraine haven’t proven worthy of our trust. The only standard that matters is the reality on the ground, not words on paper. If the violence continues, we must be prepared to dramatically increase the costs on the Kremlin.

“Whatever happens, Ukraine’s people and its government need urgent assistance on many fronts. We cannot allow Ukraine’s economy to collapse and those trapped behind the front lines this winter need immediate and life-saving humanitarian aid. Also, Ukraine should get the security aid it needs to control its territory. This includes key defensive arms and systems. Nothing that transpired in Minsk this week changes this, nor does it change our commitment to see Ukraine’s territorial integrity restored.

“In December, Congress provided the administration with powerful tools in the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. It’s time for the administration to use these tools as we continue bipartisan efforts to support Ukraine and promote peace in Europe.”