Durbin, fellow Dems vow to support Ukraine as 100,000 Russian troops gather on country’s border

“I’m against any Russian incursion, aggression or invasion — however minor or major — on the borders of Ukraine,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said during an event Sunday celebrating the 103rd anniversary of the country’s unification.

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Members of the Illinois Congressional delegation hold “Say No to Putin” signs at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in West Town on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022.

Members of the Illinois Congressional delegation hold “Say No to Putin” signs at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in West Town on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022.

Tom Schuba/Sun-Times

With over 100,000 Russian troops amassed on the border of Ukraine, Sen. Dick Durbin and a group of congressmen vowed Sunday to support the United States’ eastern European ally amid fears of a potential invasion.

Durbin and Reps. Danny Davis, Mike Quigley, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Sean Casten all raised alarms about Russia’s apparent escalation in the region during an event at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in West Town celebrating the 103rd anniversary of the country’s unification.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s designs on Ukraine are part of a campaign and a plot that he has not just against Ukraine, but against Poland, against the Baltic nations — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — and beyond,” Durbin told reporters before the event alongside his fellow Democrats. “This man cannot accept the fact that these countries want to be independent, not dependent on Moscow [and] not dependent on his foreign policy.”

The Ukrainian Unity Day celebration in Chicago was held just a day after the Associated Press reported that British officials accused Russia of seeking to install a sympathetic administration in Ukraine. The stark warning came just over a week after President Joe Biden’s administration alleged Moscow was sending operatives to Ukraine to stage an attack that could serve as cover for a potential invasion.

As the Russian military buildup along the Ukrainian border continued, top U.S. and Russian diplomats last week committed to continue negotiating. Meanwhile, Quigley called for immediate and “crippling sanctions” that would hammer all of Russia; Krishnamoorthi committed to supplying weapons to Ukraine while touting the $200 million in additional military aid that’s begun flowing to the country.

“I’m against any Russian incursion, aggression or invasion — however minor or major — on the borders of Ukraine. We are against any Russian attempt to subvert Ukraine’s right to self determination, and we are against any attempt to overthrow the government of Ukraine.” said Krishnamoorthi, who also pushed for legislation he described as “the mother of all sanctions bills in Congress.”

For his part, Davis said he plans to express to Biden “that at all costs we must protect the liberty of our friends, neighbors and colleagues in Ukraine.”

“And to Putin: Hell no!” Davis said to cheers as attendees waved signs with a similar message.

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