House Moving to Counter Russian 'Intervention' in Ukraine

Credit: Sergei Grits/AP Photo

The House will pick up today where it left off last week - addressing its growing concerns surrounding Russia's apparent violation of Ukrainian sovereignty in Crimea.

The House is expected to pass a resolution condemning Russian military forces for "a blatant violation of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity" in the Crimean peninsula while contending that the intervention "poses a threat to international peace and security" and is in violation of international law."

The resolution demands that Russia withdraw all military forces in Crimea and end support of separatist and paramilitary loyalists. It also calls for the deployment of international monitors and requests that the the U.S.'s allies join together to boycott the G8's planned meeting in Sochi and meet to consider expelling Russia "given its record of international aggression, domestic repression, and human rights records that are inconsistent with democratic standards."

Early this evening, the House will also receive a classified briefing at the Capitol from several senior administration officials, including Victoria Nuland, the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Nuland joined Secretary of State John Kerry on his March 4 visit to Kiev, where they met with Ukraine's new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the briefing confirm that in addition to Nuland, the administration officials coming to speak to the members are Derek Chollet, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director for Intelligence Integration at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, along with David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and Daleep Singh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia, from the Department of Treasury.

Last Thursday, the House voted to authorize the Obama administration to extend loan guarantees to Ukraine, worth up to $1 billion. The House also previously approved a resolution February 10 "to support democratic and European aspirations of the people of Ukraine and their right to choose their own future free of intimidation and fear."

House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans have also pressured President Obama to increase exports of natural gas to Europe because Russian President Vladimir Putin is exerting "an energy stranglehold" on several countries in Europe.

Today, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer expressed support for relieving Russia's energy dominance in Eastern Europe and told reporters at the Capitol that he believes Republicans and Democrats should present a "united front" as the United States considers its options.

"Certainly using the assets available to us - one of which is assuring both from Europe's standpoint and U.S. standpoint and other partners around the world that the Ukraine is not blackmailed by energy cut off from Russia - that's something that is worthwhile to consider," Hoyer, D-Md., said.

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