“Russia is escalating its threat toward Ukraine,” said Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in remarks to the Yalta European Strategy Event. “Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders in an unprovoked buildup of military force, and has sent additional troops to Belarus, allegedly for large-scale military exercises.” Moscow’s rhetoric is increasingly harsh and disingenuous, seeking to paint Ukraine as the aggressor. “There is no defensive justification for Russia to amass so many troops in such a short time on Ukraine’s borders,” said Under Secretary Sherman, as “Ukraine poses no threat to Russia.”
“It bears repeating that it was Russia that invaded Ukraine in 2014 and occupies Crimea to this day,” noted Under Secretary Sherman. Russia continues to fuel a war in eastern Ukraine that has claimed nearly 14,000 lives and destroyed entire towns. It is Russia and their proxies that are holding hundreds of Ukrainians as political prisoners. And it is because of Russia’s actions that nearly three million Ukrainians are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
Russia has interfered in Ukraine’s elections and tried to undermine Ukraine’s democratic institutions. Russia has blocked energy and commerce, launched cyber-attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, and used propaganda and disinformation to sow distrust and destabilization.
“The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, and we remain committed to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” reaffirmed Under Secretary Sherman. Since 2014, the United States has committed more than $5.5 billion in security and non-security assistance to Ukraine, including more than $351 million in assistance to those displaced or impacted by Russia’s aggression.
The United States also continues to provide defensive security assistance to Ukraine. President Joe Biden authorized $200 million in security assistance in December and the first shipments began arriving in Kyiv in recent days. The U.S. Congress recently increased funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. And the U.S. is working with its NATO Allies, including the Baltic states, to provide diplomatic support and other assistance to Ukraine in this time of crisis.
“If Russia further invades Ukraine, there will be significant costs and consequences well beyond what they faced in 2014,” warned Under Secretary Sherman. “The United States and our European allies and partners are working together to prepare coordinated economic measures — measures that would exact a severe, ongoing price for Russia’s economy and financial system—should Russia take that fateful step.”