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10/01/22

Durbin announces support for Senator Menendez’s legislation to impose crippling sanctions if Russia further invades Ukraine

WASHINGTON US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) spoke today in the Senate against the ongoing Russian aggression and massive military build-up on the Ukrainian border. During his speech, Durbin noted President Biden’s swift condemnation of the actions of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Durbin also called on his colleagues to support legislation introduced by US Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which would impose crippling sanctions if Russia further invaded Ukraine.

“[That] the basic human desire to be free and to democratically choose its leaders is apparently too much for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who is now threatening another massive military invasion of Ukraine. He amassed a few hundred thousand soldiers at their border to prepare for this invasion. It is not enough that Putin denies the Russian people their fundamental freedom. He is determined to stamp out similar aspirations on the Russian border to protect his undemocratic regime ”, said Durbin. “President Biden and members of both sides in this room quickly condemned Putin’s threat of yet another invasion of Ukraine. President Biden has made it clear that such a move by Russia would face swift and severe economic sanctions. ”

Durbin continued, “Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey drafted a bill that would impose historic sanctions if Russia further invaded Ukraine. The approach to the bill is broad and clear, and I support it… this is the bill that we should in fact be debating in the Senate. Instead, we will be forced to vote this week, or soon, on a different and weaker response to the crisis on the Ukrainian border. The young senator from Texas is the author of this weaker approach. He succeeded in forcing a vote by taking dozens of President Biden’s nominations hostage… This Cruz bill will do little to deter the possible Russian invasion of Ukraine… I urge my colleagues to support the wiser approach of the Senior Senator from New Jersey to send a credible, response to Russia if it invades Ukraine further.

During his speech, Durbin also honored the upcoming “Bloody Sunday” anniversary, Russian independence and the willingness to resist Chinese economic coercion.

“On January 11, 1991, 31 years ago this week, Soviet tanks arrived to crush Lithuanian freedom. It would become known as Lithuania’s “Bloody Sunday”. In the capital, Vilnius, crowds gathered at the TV tower and Parliament Square to protest against Russian resistance and defend their new independent national legislature ”, said Durbin. “Thirteen martyrs died in the Soviet Union’s brutal attempt to crush the restoration of Lithuanian independence. But to the amazement of the whole world, after two days of bloodshed and murder, the Soviet tanks turned around and left. Against all odds, this tiny nation of Lithuania rejected 50 years of Soviet tyranny and occupation. They were soon joined by Latvia and Estonia, where the same courage was demonstrated, and then by other Eastern European nations held captive by the Soviet bloc. Today I am proud to say that Lithuania remains a free and independent democracy.

Video of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Images of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate are available here for TV channels.

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