Apr. 8, 2014 - By LEO SHANE III – Defense News
House Republicans will push new restrictions on U.S.-Russian military cooperation and more technical support for Ukrainian troops as part of the annual defense authorization bill debate.
The effort will also include a formal condemnation of Russia for “undermining regional stability,” and easing of NATO membership rules for Montenegro and Georgia, according to Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio.
GOP leaders on the House Armed Services Committee have been critical of the White House response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, saying the Cold War foe’s actions have gone unpunished.
Obama administration officials have enacted some economic and visa sanctions against Russia, and provided limited supplies — including MREs — to the Ukrainian military.
But the Turner legislation would go further, providing military advice and technical assistance to Ukrainian fighters. It would not call for putting any American troops in the region, but it could pave the way for training opportunities for Ukrainian troops in other areas.
The defense authorization bill is expected to pass the House next month, but likely won’t become law until this fall at the earliest. Turner said leaders on the House Armed Services Committee support the proposals, but Democratic and Senate support is unclear.
When asked if stronger sanctions could provoke Russia, Turner responded, “I don’t know how we’d notice a difference, given their recent actions.