House of Representatives passes resolution against Russia
The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a document which strongly condemns Moscow's actions against its neighbors, calling them a policy of aggression.
Passed with 411-10 votes, the resolution slams Russia’s “continuing political, economic, and military aggression” against Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova and the “continuing violation of their sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.”
"The US, Europe and our allies must aggressively keep the pressure on Mr. Putin to encourage him to change his behavior," Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the resolution's sponsor, said.
The resolution calls for Russia to stop supporting local militias in eastern Ukraine and for the cancellation of Crimea’s decision to join Russia. In addition, it calls on Moscow to withdraw its troops which the US claims are in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova.
The House calls on President Barack Obama to provide Ukraine with defense equipment and training.
"Ukraine is clearly in need of urgent military assistance," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said as quoted by The Hill.
Previously Obama declined Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s plea for lethal military aid. During his visit to Washington in September, Poroshenko addressed Congress calling to provide Kiev with “more military equipment, lethal and non-lethal” drawing applause from the audience.
Thursday resolution also urges NATO members and US allies to suspend military cooperation with Russia. Addressing Obama, the House urged him to review the readiness of US and NATO armed forces under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE).
The lawmakers agreed that the president and State Department should also find a way to “distribute news and information” in Russian to countries with Russian-speaking populations.
RT's Gayane Chichakyan asked US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf whether this is a fight for more US influence in the region during Thursday’s daily press briefing.
Harf denied that US wants to fight for influence, saying that it plans to “fight for the people of Ukraine and indeed the entire region to get the truth about what’s happening on the ground” and to "talk about exactly what is happening in a much more truthful way."
The lawmakers specified that the resolution was targeting Putin and his policy, but not all Russian people.
The resolution follows Putin’s speech to Federal Assembly made on Thursday, where he criticized the “deterrence policy” conducted against Russia by other states.
“The deterrence policy was not invented yesterday, it has been always conducted towards our country, for decades, if not centuries,” Putin noted. “Every time somebody considers Russia is becoming too powerful and independent, such instruments are turned on immediately.”
He mentioned that the US has been manipulating foreign relations of Russia’s neighbors, adding that “sometimes you don’t even know to whom it is better to talk to: the governments of certain countries or directly with their American patrons.”
The relations between the two states have got colder in the past decade and will deteriorate even more following the adoption of the H. Res. 758, warns former Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich.
“NATO encirclement, the US-backed coup in Ukraine, an attempt to use an agreement with the European Union to bring NATO into Ukraine at the Russian border, a US nuclear first-strike policy, are all policies which attempt to substitute force for diplomacy,” he said as quoted by Truthdig.
Kucinich explained that Russia had only responded to an appeal by the local population in Ukraine to protect them from the violence when Moscow agreed to Crimea joining the Russian Federation. It was “a reaffirmation of an historic relationship,” Kucinich said.
“The Western press begins its narrative on the Crimea situation with the annexation, but completely ignores the provocations by the West and other causal factors... This distortion of reality is artificially creating an hysteria about Russian aggressiveness,” he said, adding that the US Congress “is responding to the distortions, not to the reality.”
Kucinich also criticized US rhetoric, calling it “saber-rattling, which led to the initiation and escalation of the Cold War” and urged Washington to “employ diplomacy, not more military expenditures, in the quest for international order.”