McCaul Opening Statement at Committee Markup of Legislation to Address Russia’s Full-Scale Attack on UkrainePress Release
Washington, D.C.- House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul delivered the following opening statement at a full committee markup of legislation related to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
-Remarks as Delivered-
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Appreciate you working together with us and that was a very impactful CODEL we took to Poland, to the Ukraine border. I want to thank you for holding today’s markup on legislation to help address the horrific situation unfolding in Ukraine. Forty-one days ago, Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked, full-scale assault on the innocent people of Ukraine. And since then, we have seen the worst of humanity from Putin’s barbaric invaders.
Reports of thousands of residents in Eastern Ukraine being forcibly deported to Russia and detained in camps. Evoking images of prior wars. Pregnant women in Mariupol, covered in blood, being rushed from a recently bombed maternity hospital, holding her baby in her womb only to die hours later.
And, over the weekend, the truly shocking images from Bucha. Mass graves. Summary executions of civilians. Innocent Ukrainians lying dead in the street, many showing signs of torture.
Amidst all this horror, we have also though seen the best of humanity in the actions of the Ukrainian people. They have shown the world true courage, taking up arms in defense of their country. Telling the world in one loud voice that democracy will not die on their watch.
Ukrainian President Zelensky summed it up with his warning to the Russian troops that the people of Ukraine weren’t going anywhere, “It will be our faces you see. Not our backs.”
And, against all odds – the Ukrainians are winning. Who would have thought? We were told this would be over in four days. But 41 days later, the Russian military is stalled in most of the country. Forty-one days later, the Russian military does not maintain control over a single major Ukrainian city. Forty-one days later, President Zelensky remains in Kyiv. And 41 days of relentless attacks, the people of Ukraine remain absolutely resolved to fight on – and to beat Putin.
We cannot wait for the next atrocity to act decisively and help the people of Ukraine. I am, once again, imploring President Biden to work with our NATO allies and our partners to get more air and missile defense systems, including S-300s, into Ukraine as quickly as possible. We need to help the Ukrainians design their own no-fly zone. Time is of the essence.
Again, I want to thank Chairman Meeks for leading the bipartisan CODEL it moved all of us, both Republicans and Democrats. It hardened our resolve to do whatever we can to ensure Ukraine comes out of this war victorious.
I also want to thank the Chairman for joining me to cosponsor my Ukraine Invasion War Crimes Deterrence and Accountability Act. After Bucha, there can be no question that Vladimir Putin’s regime is committing heinous war crimes. And it must be held accountable.
I am disappointed we are not marking up the bill that includes any new sanctions, though, like my ANS for the NYET Act.
The ruble is starting to rebound. And there are a chorus of calls for more sanctions from the international community and from President Zelensky himself, particularly after the horrific images coming out of Bucha. We just heard President Zelensky address the United Nations. So, I think we need to keep the pressure on.
We need to look at additional sanctions. You know as well. We must make every state choose between doing business with the free world or with a war criminal.
Russian energy is really the lifeblood of Putin – and he’s using it to spill blood in the streets of Ukraine. I think we have bills that are not on this markup that would address this. I hope in a future markup we can see some of these bills marked up to cut off this vital source of income for Putin.
And again, Mr. Chairman I appreciate you working with me in a bipartisan manner. That’s what this committee is known for. And I’m looking to these bills getting to the floor and passing the House.
I yield back.