WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Thursday released the following statement in response to reports that the Trump administration is holding up  $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine which is important to counter Russia: 

“Cutting off U.S. security aid to Ukraine would be an absolute gift to the Russians. Coming at the beginning of President Zelensky’s tenure, this announcement undercuts the Ukrainian military’s ability to defend itself and sends a disturbing signal about U.S. commitment. The single best way to deter further Russian aggression in the region is to help build a strong and independent Ukraine. Instead, this administration is handing gift after gift to Vladimir Putin and we need to figure out what is driving this bizarre policy that undermines our national security,” said Murphy. 

Murphy continued: “There have also been reports of Rudy Giuliani, acting as a representative of the President, personally asking the Ukrainians to investigate the president’s political opponents—namely Joe Biden. I would hope this possible suspension of military aid is not connected to the Ukrainians’ unwillingness to do the bidding of President Trump's campaign.” 

Next week, Murphy will travel to Europe to meet with government officials and civil society to discuss a range of foreign policy issues including Russia. Murphy was denied a visa for Russia, which was part of the original itinerary for his trip. In May and following reports that Rudy Giuliani was traveling to Ukraine, Murphy sent a letter to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch to submit an official congressional inquiry to the Trump administration about why a private citizen was traveling to Ukraine to work with a foreign government in a Trump campaign re-election effort.