U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) sat down with leaders from the Ukrainian American community on Feb. 17 at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey as Russia built up its armed forces along Ukraine’s borders.
“North Jersey and the surrounding area has one of the largest Ukrainian diaspora in America,” she said. “As the Russian aggression at the Ukrainian border continues, I sat down with Ukrainian American community leaders this week to hear their concerns. The sense of unity exhibited by the Ukrainian American community here in New Jersey parallels that of the unity I saw in Kyiv when I traveled there last month with the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The Ukrainian population both at home and living abroad are proud of their homeland and want to see their democracy and sovereignty continue to flourish.”
Last Thursday, as the invasion started, Sherrill made the following statement:
“Vladimir Putin has instigated an unprovoked and unjustifiable attack against Ukraine — a sovereign, democratic nation. He has attempted to rewrite history and has unleashed propaganda and disinformation in pursuit of his clear desire to rebuild the Soviet Union’s so-called sphere of influence. The strikes he authorized last night are unconscionable, and he is directly responsible for the deaths caused.
“I am supportive of the sanctions imposed so far by the U.S. and our allies, but our sanctions must impose more consequences on Putin and his cronies. In addition to freezing monetary assets, we should immediately restrict travel for Oligarchs and their families. We must remove Russian banks from the SWIFT payment system and put into place full blocking sanctions for the Russian Central Bank. We must sanction Putin himself. It is critical to show Putin just how damaging this decision to invade will be to his country and his allies.”
A Russia specialist
U.S. Rep. Sherrill is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served in the Navy for almost 10 years as a helicopter pilot and Russian policy officer. As a Russian policy officer, she worked on the implementation of our nuclear treaty obligations and oversaw the relationship between the U.S. Navy and Russian Federation Navy. She now serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she serves as the Vice Chair of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.
She traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, last month on a congressional trip led by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. There she met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as well as other top officials to discuss their preparedness and needs to defend themselves against a possible Russian invasion.
Her district in Sussex County includes Byram Township, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Sparta Township and Stanhope.
“Our community members left the meeting with Congresswoman Sherrill, with a solid reassurance that she is committed to making Putin think twice about further invading Ukraine,” said former Randolph Township Mayor Roman Hirniak. “While a return of Russian troops to their bases is certainly the preferred course of action, she made it clear that the United States must continue to act as a beacon of democracy, and not permit authoritarian regimes to believe that attacking their sovereign neighbors will go unpunished. In Congresswoman Sherrill, CD-11 Ukrainian Americans have a strong advocate on Capitol Hill, for which we are grateful.”
The Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany provides a space for the local Ukrainian community to come together for the preservation of Ukrainian heritage and culture, and to promote and conduct educational and social programs for persons of Ukrainian descent and for the community at large.
“It is critical to show Putin just how damaging this decision to invade will be to his country and his allies.” U.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)