- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A bipartisan House delegation is en route to Brussels and Kyiv to show U.S. resolve against Russia’s threatening posture toward Ukraine, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks announced Tuesday.

Mr. Meeks is leading the delegation with plans to meet with European Union, NATO and Ukraine officials to discuss the security situation and “reinforce U.S. support for Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Mr. Meeks’ office said in a statement on Tuesday.

The delegation is set to touch down in a tense Europe where Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, including moving troops into Belarus.

The U.S. has grown increasingly concerned that an invasion may be imminent.

Mr. Meeks will be joined by seven fellow Democratic House members on the trip: David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ami Bera of California, Colin Allred of Texas, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Tom Malinowski and Mike Sherrill of New Jersey, and Sara Jacobs of California. The delegation will include three Republican House members: Mark Green of Tennessee, August Pflugger of Texas and Victoria Spartz of Indiana.

The visit marks the third congressional delegation in recent weeks. Last week, a bipartisan group of senators visited Kyiv. A bipartisan delegation of House members led by House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations Chairman Ruben Gallego, Arizona Democrat, visited Ukraine.

The State Department on Sunday ordered family members of embassy staff to leave Ukraine and authorized the departure of some U.S. government employees. The Pentagon on Monday placed 8,500 troops on standby for possible deployments to Eastern Europe in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

President Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow will face severe sanctions for invading Ukraine

On Tuesday, the administration announced it is preparing contingency operations to deal with potential winter fuel shortages in Europe amid fears that Russia could clamp down its energy supplies to Europe in response to sanctions.

Mr. Meeks, New York Democrat, registered his support for the administration’s approach.

“I strongly support the diplomatic path set forth by the [administration] in the attempt to lower the temperature on the Russian-Ukrainian border,” Mr. Meeks said on Twitter. “Russia maintaining the military threat aimed directly at Kyiv & our NATO allies is not a peaceful negotiating tactic.”

Last week, Mr. Meeks introduced a House companion to a Senate bill that would impose a litany of consequences should Russia invade, including sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline into Germany and Russian financial institutions. The bill would also extend additional security assistance for Ukraine.

“While I remain hopeful that diplomacy can de-escalate tensions on the Ukrainian border, it is necessary that the United States, together with our transatlantic allies, make clear that any activities constituting an invasion by the Russian army into sovereign territory will be met with significant repercussions,” Mr. Meeks said.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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