WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, today held a hearing on the security challenges stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Murphy called for increased American troop levels in the region as part of the response from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the immediate cessation of arms sales to Russia from the United States and the European Union, and for NATO to approve an action plan to bring Georgia into the treaty organization.  

Russia’s attempt to illegally annex Crimea and its continued menacing of Ukraine, Moldova and other Eastern European countries has put the security of the entire region in jeopardy,” said Murphy. “Now is the time to strengthen our transatlantic relationships and reassure our European allies that the security of the region remains a top priority for the United States.”

Murphy laid out three concrete steps to increase security in Eastern Europe: 

First, as part of an increased NATO response, the United States should deploy a significant number of additional troops to the region.  Secretary Hagel has said a third troop brigade is being considered, but regardless, the historically low U.S. force strength in Europe should be re-evaluated and potentially reversed. 

Second, the United States and Europe should immediately suspend arms sales to Russia. Murphy recently joined a bipartisan group of Senators in calling for the U.S. government to end its business relationship with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms export agency. France should also strongly reconsider the delivery of Mistral-class warships that were designed specifically for the type of invasion that just occurred on the shores of Crimea. 

Third, NATO should approve a Membership Action Plan for Georgia.  While the fear of confrontation over Georgia may have divided NATO’s member states in the past, it would send clear message to President Putin that not only will he fail to achieve his objectives through threats and bullying, but that they are actually counterproductive.