Rep. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and six other congressmen wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday to express concern over the current situation in Ukraine.
Protests continue to rage in the Eastern European nation after President Viktor Yanukovich halted efforts to sign an economic accord with the European Union.
Especially concerning to the congressmen is that the decision to halt discussions with the EU was made immediately following threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin to place severe economic sanctions on Ukraine should they adopt the EU accord, according to the letter.
Although the violence against peaceful protesters over the last few days is well documented, what’s more concerning is the timing of this decision. It came immediately after President Yanukovich’s talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who reportedly threatened the Ukrainian government with severe economic sanctions if Ukraine signed the EU accord. […]
It is deeply troubling that President Yanukovich has cast aside years of positive bilateral talks that would move Ukraine closer to EU integration and strengthen their young democracy. It caught many EU leaders by surprise and many of them feel this development is a direct result of economic threats delivered by the Kremlin.
The United States must stand with our allies in the EU and demonstrate our desire to see Ukraine continue on their path towards integration with Europe. We cannot allow President Putin to undermine these efforts through the threats of economic retaliation or implied force. We believe remaining silent on this issue sends the wrong message to our allies and erodes our strength as an economic and strategic partner.