Hoeven: Russia Must Respect Ukraine's Sovereignty

Events in Ukriane Also Underscore Importance of U.S. Energy Security

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said Russia needs to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine and follow international law. Russia has no legitimate right to make incursions into Ukraine and breach that country’s border, in spite of its perceived military and economic interests in Crimea and energy pipeline infrastructure to Europe.

Hoeven said the United States can and should, along with its allies, pursue economic and diplomatic sanction against Russia unless it withdraws from Ukraine. Diplomatic sanctions includes measures such as condemning Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, working through the UN to get a resolution ordering withdrawal and expanding the Magnitsky Act and other travel bans for Russian officials. In addition, the senator said the international community could impose economic sanctions on Russia, such as cancelling the G-8 summit in Sochi next June, expelling Russia from the G-8 and G-20, restricting Russian trade and banking operations overseas and other measures. 

Hoeven also said recent events in Ukraine illustrate the importance of developing the United States’ domestic energy resources to achieve energy independence.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is in part intended to secure its bases and preserve access to warm water ports in Crimea, but also to control vital pipeline energy infrastructure. Russia is acting to protect its energy revenues which are vital to its economy. Currently, the European Union imports 30 percent of its natural gas from Russia and half of that is transported via pipelines through Ukraine.

By developing U.S. domestic energy resources, working with allies like Canada, and getting approval for projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, the US can not only make itself energy secure, but also help reduce the cost of energy on a global basis. Over the long-term, that helps make the United States stronger and weakens Russia’s economy, which is dependent on oil and gas revenue.

“The United States needs to reduce our reliance on overseas energy,” Hoeven said. “That means developing a domestic energy plan, like the one we forged in North Dakota, that aggressively develops our domestic energy resources and working with friends and allies like Canada to produce more energy than we use. It also means building more energy infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline without delay.”

Further, Hoeven said, over the past decade, North Dakota has developed extensive ties with Ukraine. Currently, Ukraine is North Dakota’s 14th largest buyer of goods, largely agriculture equipment and machinery. The North Dakota Trade Office during the Hoeven administration sent trade missions to Ukraine in 2006 and 2008, followed by a third mission 2011. These have resulted in large increase in North Dakota exports to that country. Today, North Dakota exports approximately $20 million in goods annually to Ukraine.

“The people of the United States and North Dakota stand with the people of Ukraine in supporting their democratic aspirations and their efforts to build a better future,” Hoeven said.