September 22, 2022

Duckworth, Durbin, Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Ban U.S. Recognition of Any Ukrainian Territory Annexed by Russia


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – In order to bolster support for Ukraine and defend against efforts to force Ukraine to give up its sovereign territory, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, led a bipartisan group of their colleagues in introducing the Non-Recognition of Russian Annexation of Ukrainian Territory Act. The bill would require U.S. policy to not recognize any Russian claim of sovereignty over any portion of the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine and prohibit any federal department or agency from taking any action or extending any assistance that implies recognition of Russian claims over Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to hold referendums in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine with the goal of annexing these regions into the Russian Federation. Announcing annexation is intended to paint Ukrainian efforts to restore its territorial integrity as aggressive actions against the Russian Federation so as to depress the West’s assistance to Ukraine.

“As Putin continues to wage his unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression, our country and the free world are firmly united with Ukraine and against Russia’s autocratic regime and its malign actions,” said Duckworth. “This bipartisan bill recognizes that and no matter what Russia claims, they cannot and will not diminish our support for Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, its people and its right to self-governance.”

“Putin’s threatened sham referendums reek of desperation,” said Durbin. “The world knows the war in Ukraine is a disaster and, increasingly, so do the Russian people, who are tired of their kids dying over Putin’s warped nostalgia for Soviet dystopia. Today’s bill reaffirms our commitment to the Ukrainian people and that the United States will never recognize sovereign Ukrainian territories as part of Russia.”

“There is no amount of propaganda or political scheming that can change the reality of what is happening in Ukraine,” said Rubio. “Vladimir Putin is the real aggressor in this war, and he is attempting an unjustified takeover of a sovereign, democratic country. The United States cannot recognize Putin’s claims or we risk establishing a dangerous precedent for other authoritarian regimes, like the Chinese Communist Party, to imitate.”

Yesterday, Durbin hosted Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin to receive an update on Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, and specifically on reports of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russians.

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Patrick Leah (D-VT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA) are cosponsors of the legislation.