Update on Ukraine from Congressman Ted Poe

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Ukraine. It was a sobering experience as I saw firsthand the situation on the ground. Our country must do more to let our friends in the Ukraine know that we support them and want to help protect their democratic freedoms. I met with Ukrainian officials and presidential candidates to discuss the unrest in the region, Russia's propaganda campaign and the citizens' fears their safety.

 Congressman Poe with Ukraine's interim President, Oleksandr Turchynov

Ukrainian armored vehicle in front of the Kiev Airport entrance

Putin is on a mission to restore the former Soviet Union. He is even called parts of Ukraine the "New Russia." The U.S. must ratchet up its sanctions against Russia to hurt it economically while expediting U.S. natural gas exports to Ukraine and other former Soviet territories. I have introduced legislation to do just that. The Fight Russian Energy Exploitation (FREE) Act would require the Department of Energy to expedite and approve any permits for natural gas exports to Ukraine, all former Soviet nations and all members of the European Union. I also introduced the Russia Visa Sanctions Act, which would withhold all visas —both official and tourist— for all Russian government officials until the Secretary of State certifies that all Russian military activity has ceased in Ukraine. If there is one thing we know for sure about Putin, it's that he only responds to strength. The U.S. must project strength and leadership through economic sanctions and energy exports to combat Putin's aggressive imperialist behavior.

Standing in the Maidan Square in Kiev where Ukrainians fought, successfully removing the corrupt president

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