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Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I will start first by applauding the leadership of this committee: Mr. Royce, who has worked so hard, and the gentlewoman from Florida.
We went to Bosnia together some years ago, and they have worked so closely with Mr. Engel. I think it really demonstrates what can be done when people work together.
The Congressional Ukraine Caucus cochairs--Representatives Marcy Kaptur, Andy Harris, Brian Fitzpatrick, and I--issued this statement rebuking the Russian Federation's aggressive attack on Ukraine near the Kerch Strait in the Sea of Azov: ``As cochairs of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, we strongly condemn Russia's dangerous naval assault on Ukrainian ships. This episode, as well as Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports, is a deeply disturbing sign of continued Russian aggression in its efforts to tighten its bloody grip and illegitimate occupation of the Crimean peninsula.
``We join the international committee and our NATO allies in resolute affirmation of the fact that Crimea and its surrounding waters belong to Ukraine. We call on Russian authorities, in accordance with international law, to cease any and all interference with access to Ukrainian ports and the Azov Sea. Russia must end this bloody and unjust occupation of Ukrainian sovereign territory.''
I was in Ukraine at the time of the Russian attack. I was at meetings where the President of Ukraine spoke out clearly against the Russian action on behalf of the people of Ukraine. He also spoke out on what was the main aim of Russia's military actions: to undermine Ukraine's efforts to build democracy.
Today, there is a dangerous tilt to authoritarianism in many places around the world. This makes Ukraine's struggle to resist aggression, safeguard its independence, and develop democracy all the more important.
Ukraine has witnessed firsthand that the challenges of democracy are not easily overcome. That makes it all the more important to overcome the threats to democracy, such as injustice and corruption.
The United States must support Ukraine in its efforts. We must deepen our determination to help the fight for freedom and democracy, never making heroes out of dictators. That is what this resolution is all about. May it pass unanimously.
Mr. Speaker, I thank Mr. Engel and thank my pal from Florida for their work.
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