WASHINGTON – The chairs of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), on July 18 introduced the SAILORS Act, or the “Stopping Aggressive Incursions on Liberty by Ordering Russian Sanctions Act,” legislation that would apply sanctions to 24 senior members of the Russian Security Service and their close associates until Russia releases 24 Ukrainian seaman and three vessels the country illegally captured near the Kerch Strait in the Sea of Azov.
In a joint statement, the CUC chairs noted: “The United States Congress continues to strongly condemn Russia’s dangerous naval assault on the Ukrainian Navy and the illegal detainment of 24 Ukrainian sailors. The event represents the latest in a series of malicious steps taken by Russia to undermine Ukraine’s democratic progress and the international rules-based order.”
“The international community must not stand idly by as Russia increases its aggression in Europe and globally. The United States and the free world must raise the cost of Russian incursions until each of the 24 Ukrainian sailors are returned home and the vessels released. This bill sends a powerful message to the Ukrainian sailors and their families that the American people have not forgotten their heroic struggle to protect their nation’s democratic trajectory and sovereignty,” the statement continued. “We call on our House colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and for Russia to immediately release the Ukrainian sailors.”
On November 25, 2018, Russia’s Security Service (FSB) carried out an unprovoked naval assault on 24 Ukrainian sailors and three Ukrainian naval vessels. Russia continues to illegally detain the sailors and the vessels and refuses their release despite a court order to do so under International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
Office of Rep. Marcy Kaptur