WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined a group of 13 senators urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to appropriate federal funds to provide defensive weapons to Ukraine as authorized by the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which Brown cosponsored. In a letter to U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senators highlighted the critical need to help Ukraine defend itself in the face of Russian aggression.

“I cosponsored the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 because I recognize and respect Ukraine’s sovereignty,” said Brown. “As Ukraine continues to face Russian aggression, the international community must take a stand and provide Ukraine with the defensive weapons it needs to protect her land and citizens.”

Brown remains an advocate for the interests of the people of Ukraine, by working with colleagues in Washington and meeting with leaders in Ohio’s Ukrainian community.

In February 2014, Brown – Vice-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus – met with Ukrainian parliamentary leaders to discuss the changing dynamics on the ground and the need for economic, political, and military assistance. That same month, Brown joined a group of bipartisan Senate colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), urging an increase in military assistance to Ukraine against escalating Russian aggression. On Feb. 12 2014, the Senate approved – by unanimous consent – a Brown co-sponsored resolution condemning the Government of the Russian Federation for its illegal imprisonment of Ukrainian fighter pilot Nadiya Savchenko and calling for her immediate release.

Following the Russian military siege of Crimea, Brown joined a bipartisan group of 11 Senators in drafting a resolution condemning Russia’s escalating aggression and calling for an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the region.


The full text of the letter is below:

Senator Thad Cochran


Senate Committee on Appropriations

Room S128, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510


Senator Barbara Mikulski

Vice Chairwoman

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Room S128, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairwoman Mikulski,

We write today to request that the Appropriations Committee appropriate funding, consistent with the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 (H.R. 5859; P.L. 113-272), for the purpose of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people and their elected government are engaged in a desperate struggle to defend their country against better-armed Russian-backed separatists.  Following the February 12, 2015, “Minsk II” ceasefire agreement, separatists—with support from the Kremlin—laid siege to the strategically important city of Debaltseve.  There are concerns that the port city of Mariupol may be next.

The flagrant violation of the February 12, 2015, ceasefire by President Putin-backed separatists requires a strong response from the United States and the West.  On February 25, 2015, General Philip Breedlove, the Commander of Supreme Allied Command, Europe and U.S. European Command, said, “More than 1,000 pieces of Russian military equipment have been transferred into Ukraine, including tanks, armored personnel carriers, heavy artillery pieces and other military vehicles and equipment…These are not the actions of a good faith negotiating partner.”

There is growing bipartisan consensus within Congress, the administration, and among former officials—such as Zbigniew Brzezinski, Madeline Albright, and George Shultz—that the United States should provide defensive weapons to Ukraine.  While these weapons would not allow Ukraine to outmatch the Russian military, they would enable Ukraine to better defend itself and increase the costs of President Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.  By increasing costs for President Putin’s aggression, it would discourage future aggression in eastern Europe that could even more directly threaten U.S. national security interests. 

We fully support the authorization provided under the Ukraine Freedom Support Act to provide defensive weapons to the Government of Ukraine.  Congress can send an important message to Ukraine, the Kremlin, and the world by appropriating the authorized funding in accordance with the law.

Thank you for your consideration of our request and for your leadership on the Senate Appropriations Committee.