Friday, September 5, 2014

Rep. Pascrell Calls It Russian Invasion; Seeks Military Aid
Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9th District) is the latest member of congress to state without fear and smokescreens that Russia has invaded Ukraine – not escalated its aggression.
During a meeting yesterday with Ukrainian American community representatives in his district office in Paterson, NJ, Pascrell said he wants the US to provide arms to Ukraine as that it defends its people and land against Russian troops and mercenaries inside its borders.
In a letter to House leadership, Pascrell urged Speaker John Boehner to act on the Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014 (H.R. 5190), which he helped introduce that would authorize the President to work with the Government of Ukraine to assess that country’s military, intelligence, and security needs and provide adequate and necessary assistance to protect Ukrainian democracy and sovereignty. This week, Pascrell also joined his colleagues on the House Ukrainian Caucus in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to invite Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to address Congress during his expected visit to the US later this month.
The Ukrainian American community, led by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, has launched a campaign to bring Poroshenko to the halls of Congress to explain what he happening in Ukraine.
Pascrell wrote in his letter to Boenher:
“Congress returns from recess next week to a dramatically changed landscape in Ukraine. For months, we have known that the Russian government was providing weapons and support to separatists in Ukraine’s east. Over the past several weeks, Russia has escalated its campaign by invading Ukraine directly. The United States must stand with the people of Ukraine against this aggression and provide them with the ability to defend themselves. To that end, before Congress recesses for the November elections, we must act on legislation giving the President the authority he needs to assist the people of Ukraine defend their country. 
“The Russian military, one of the world’s largest, had been massing at the eastern border of Ukraine since the crisis began. After the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia’s clandestine support of separatists groups across Ukraine’s east escalated after the Ukrainian government attempted to reclaim its territory. This support tragically culminated in the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 with Russian provided weaponry, killing 298 people.
“However, this tragedy did not deter President Putin. Since mid-August, we have seen undeniable evidence that the Russian military is crossing the border with Ukraine and fighting directly with Ukrainian forces. President Putin has reportedly bragged about his ability to conquer the capital of Ukraine in “two weeks,” if he wanted.
“The Ukrainian military is severely outmatched by the Russian soldiers currently invading their country, and needs our support. Congress must not stand by and let Russia continue this pattern of aggression and flaunting of international norms. I am a co-sponsor of HR 5190, the Ukraine Security Assistance Act of 2014, which authorizes the President to provide Ukraine with the equipment they need to defend themselves from this invasion, including weapons, body armor and night navigation equipment. I believe this legislation would be an appropriate starting point for any action you are considering the House take. 

“It is vital the House act before we recess for the November elections. During the five weeks of recess this summer, Russia’s support for the rebels in Ukraine escalated to a full blown invasion. There is no telling how many lives could be lost or how much further Russia will escalate its invasion if Congress fails to act for another two months.”
Congressman Pascrell is optimistic that this war could last until November. Ukraine needs US military aid immediately. Ukrainian Americans will be grateful for this type of support for their ancestral homeland.