More than 90-thousand Russian troops have amassed on or near the Ukrainian border in recent weeks. Senator Roger Wicker–a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee–believes the buildup signals potential military aggression.
In a speech on the Senate floor December first, Wicker urged President Biden and his advisors to make it clear that unprecedented sanctions will be leveled if Russia invades Ukraine.
Read Senator Wicker’s full speech as delivered below:
Madam President, I stand today in support of the freedom loving people of Ukraine, our friends and our allies in Europe, and in warning to my fellow Americans and to my colleagues about a threat coming from Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime.
I rise in support of this American ally whose right to democracy is being threatened, its right to self-determination is being threatened, and I rise at this moment when there are negotiations going on in this building between Republicans and Democrats as to how to urge the President of the United States to respond to a buildup of 90,000 to 100,000 Russian troops on the border of this sovereign country, who is our ally.
The world has watched in recent weeks not understanding, not knowing what Vladimir Putin has in mind.
But there’s no question about it.
There is the amassing of troops. They are moving in place, all the supplies and troops it would need if they decide to launch an invasion of this member of the United Nations, of this member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and this sovereign nation who wants to self-determination?
Our Ukrainian friends are sounding the alarm.
They’ve warned us that Russia could be ready to invade their country by land, air, or sea as early as next month or February of 2022.
I heard their concerns, along with a bipartisan delegation of senators who attended the Halifax International Security Conference just a couple of weeks ago in Nova Scotia.
These are concerns that were voiced today at a bureau meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The threats are serious.
The troops are there on the border of Ukraine, and we have a right to be worried and mindful about Mr. Putin’s latest move and his long campaign to undermine Ukraine’s freedom and sovereignty.
We should never forget what happened in 2014, when troops that he disavowed but were clearly under his direction invaded the territory the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Since then, Russia has provoked a shooting war in eastern Ukraine, which has cost the lives of more than 13,000 people.
More than 13,000 human beings have died because of the war Vladimir Putin has caused Russia to make against the people of Ukraine.
Moscow tries to deny and obfuscate the truth, but the world knows the truth.
The OSCE parliamentary assembly plainly spoke overwhelmingly in a resolution that Russia had violated every precept of the final agreement of the Organization for Security and Cooperation.
Now is the time—and I know many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle agree with this—now is the time for the President of the United States to send a strong signal to Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs – his ruling inner circle – that there will be serious consequences.
Not so much for the Russian people, but there will be serious consequences for Mr. Putin and his henchmen on day one, if he goes ahead with this invasion on day one, Madam President.
And it troubles me to hear that our friends on the Democratic side of the aisle and my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle would like to pass an amendment on the NDAA that makes this clear and sends a clear message that on day one, sanctions will be imposed… and yet we’re stuck on language that might have unintended consequences.
The purpose of my statement this afternoon, Madam President, is to urge the leaders of the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee on both sides of the aisle to get together and get the language right.
So we make it clear what our consequences will be on Nord Stream 2.
I think Nord Stream 2 should be disallowed on day one when Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, and I think we can stop this.
I don’t want a war with Ukraine, Madam President, and neither do my colleagues, and neither does the President of the United States.
The clearest way to prevent an invasion of our friends in Ukraine is for the United States to stand strong, to be resolute, to send a signal to the world that Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine will not be tolerated, and that intolerable consequences will be meted out upon the Putin regime.
If this takes place, we’re not where we need to be on the language.
There are negotiations and I’m hopeful the NDAA will be on the floor for amendments.
But the way it is positioned right now, Madam President, is that a Democratic amendment will be offered and it will not pass because we think there are holes in it.
A Republican amendment will be offered on Ukraine on sanctions. It will not pass because for some reason the White House believes it’s improper or inadequate.
This doesn’t have to happen when a clear majority of this body wants to send a strong signal to Mr. Putin. I hope that happens, and I urge that on the leadership of this Senate and on the leaders of these two very important committees.
And I yield the floor.