WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the ongoing unrest in Ukraine:

“With thousands of Russian soldiers crossing the border into Ukraine, one thing should now be clear: President Putin will not relent in his aggression until he faces severe consequences.

“The United States and our European allies have imposed sanctions against Russia, and we are starting to see an impact. Russia’s economy is teetering on the brink of recession.

“While I had hoped to see Russia choose to end the crisis in Ukraine and start lowering the tensions, I regret to say that we must now ratchet up the pressure yet again. The Russian people suffered great hardship throughout the last century and were only recently seeing daylight as their economy and freedom expanded. Sadly, President Putin has shifted his country into reverse as the economy begins to grinds to a halt and the black cloud of authoritarianism creeps across the Russian heartland.

“Given the not-so-stealthy Russian invasion, it is absolutely clear that France must not transfer the Mistral-class warships to Moscow. I renew my call for NATO to buy or lease the ships.

“Not only should we penalize Russia for its destabilizing behavior, but now is the time to ramp up our support for Ukraine and reaffirm our commitment to our nearby NATO allies. We can help Ukraine improve its ability to defend itself against Russian-supported separatists, and our NATO allies must know that the United States stands by its Article V commitment to them.”