With worries of a Russian incursion into Ukraine ongoing, U.S. Reps. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), and Mike Turner (R-OH) today introduce the Supplying Ukraine with Provisions to Protect against Ongoing Russian Threats (SUPPORT) Act to guarantee support to the latter.
For the last month, more than 100,000 Russian troops have gathered at the Ukrainian border, ostensibly for military drills with Belarus. NATO and Ukraine have, however, repeatedly warned of the possibility of a full-fledged invasion of the former Soviet satellite and threatened severe sanctions for any incursion. While Ukraine is not a NATO member, Russia has seized on the situation to make demands on NATO, such as assuring that Ukraine never will become a member of the military alliance.
While the United States and its European allies have firmly rejected such ideas, the SUPPORT act would represent a major escalation on the part of the country. It would require plans for the United States to support Ukrainian insurgents in opposing any invasion of their country by Russian troops. Lethal and non-lethal assistance would be on the table, along with intelligence sharing, backed by an intelligence assessment of opportunities to deter Russian aggression by targeting its assets.
“I’m proud to lead this bipartisan bill with Reps. Krishnamoorthi and Turner that will give the Ukrainian people the resources they need to deter a Russian invasion and occupation,” Veasey said. “We must do all we can to hold Putin accountable to protect Ukrainian sovereignty and prevent the loss of life that would come with an invasion.”
Any plan from the government would include assistance such as funding, weapons, partner contributions, and intelligence sharing. The Director of National Intelligence would also be required to submit assessments of Russia’s gray zone assets – those assets that exist in a nebulous zone between outright war and peace. They would also need to consider opportunities to put those assets at risk and whether doing so would affect Russian attempts to either invade other nations or undermine their political independence in some way.
“With more than 150,000 Russian troops assembled along Ukraine’s eastern border and an invasion possible at any moment, it is imperative that the United States stand behind Ukraine’s democratic government while also preparing to support the people of Ukraine in the event of further Russian invasion,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We must continue to support a diplomatic solution to the crisis. If Russia proceeds to invade Ukraine, however, our bipartisan legislation will ensure that our nation is ready to aid Ukraine’s efforts to reassert its sovereignty through supporting a Ukrainian insurgency by providing the essential military and intelligence resources required for it to succeed.”