PARMA, Ohio – On Thursday, November 3, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) met with representatives of Ohio’s nationalities communities. The meeting, which was attended by representatives of the Ukrainian, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Czech, Slovenian, Serbian, German, Slovak, Romanian, Italian, Macedonian and Lebanese communities, was organized and chaired by Ukrainian Congress Committee of America President Andriy Futey.
The senators reaffirmed the necessity of a strong U.S. foreign policy and a strong NATO alliance in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine and the global threat posed by Russian actions around the world. They have sponsored and have pushed through legislation in the Senate designed to provide Ukraine with defensive military weapons – The Ukraine Defense Act – and have strongly advocated for NATO to protect its allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania against Russian threats and aggression in those countries.
Both senators recognize that Russia is spending over a billion dollars on a propaganda and disinformation campaign in the United States. Sen. Portman and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have introduced legislation to help American allies counter foreign government propaganda from Russia and other countries. Specifically, the bill will improve the ability of the U.S. to counter such propaganda and disinformation.
Both Sens. Portman and Barrasso have visited Ukraine on several occasions and continue to be actively engaged with ongoing political, economic and military developments in Ukraine. Sen. Portman is co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and on October 19 received the UCCA’s Shevchenko Freedom Award. Sen. Barrasso is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Senate Committee on Energy.
In addition to the UCCA president, the Ukrainian community was represented by Marta Liscynesky Kelleher, president of the United Ukrainian Organizations of Ohio (UZO); Taras Szmagala Sr., Vasyl Liscynesky and Vira Ivanytska.