Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the continued support of the United States to Ukraine as the country is under assault by Vladimir Putin and Russian troops. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Today is the fifth day since Russian President Vladimir Putin undermined decades of stability in Europe by launching an unprovoked, immoral, and terribly violent, vicious assault on Ukraine.
This evening the Senate will receive a classified update from the Administration, that Senator McConnell and I have requested, and we will be briefed on the situation on the ground and the steps that President Biden has taken to help the Ukrainian people.
In the coming weeks, the Senate will also work on a bipartisan basis—and in lockstep with the Biden Administration—to build a robust assistance package for Ukraine. The Administration has asked for a $6.4 billion package of humanitarian aid, of economic aid, and of the kind of military aid that will help the Ukrainians defend themselves and we intend to work on a bipartisan basis to include it in the upcoming omnibus bill.
Already, the reports of civilian casualties in Ukraine are tragic: at least 350 civilians have been killed according to the Ukrainian government.
But amidst the violence one thing is clear: the Ukrainian people are giving Putin a tougher fight than he—in his monomaniacal overconfidence—bargained for.
There are two people in particular that deserve recognition in these early days: President Zelensky and President Joe Biden.
On one hand, President Zelensky is facing the worst nightmare any head of state could face: a full assault on his country’s sovereignty. But his bravery and defiance against Putin is inspiring.
Many said he should leave the country. Putin thought he'd run away. He said: even though I may be their number one target, I'm staying. What courage! What strength! And it gave the Ukrainian people and all the people in the Western world courage and strength as well, to unite and do everything we can, each in our own way to help the Ukrainian people keep their independence, their freedom, and their sovereignty.
President Zelensky is admired all around the globe and most by the Ukrainian people who he stood so strong for.
President Biden also deserves credit, credit that is due to him, for successfully bringing Democracies together against Putin, with crushing sanctions and an outpouring of security assistance. Today, President Putin is more isolated than ever before, while democracies have rallied together. And this is much to the credit of President Biden. He's done an amazing job.
Here in the U.S., we stand unflinchingly with the people of Ukraine. Twenty one years ago, in the aftermath of 9/11, Americans rallied together after our democracy was attacked here at home. Today, as democracy is under assault, we must likewise come together in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. We should all be together supporting this country’s efforts.
When I said the President did an amazing job, here's one thing I was referring to: no one thought that the Europeans would go along with removing parts of the SWIFT system from the Russian financial system. No one thought that we would sanction the Russian central bank, two of the most powerful weapons we have, but the Europeans were going to be reluctant.
Because President Biden was strong, was patient, was persistent, didn't let himself get push around by would-be critics, that's now happening. And over the next several months, even now today, but even more so as time goes on, those are going to have severe effects on President Putin. And so he deserves a lot of credit and I just hope we will all, all of us come together, just as we did after 9/11 when freedom was under assault in our own country, and rally in supporting the President and what he is doing.