Kiev, Ukraine — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, today met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak and Ukrainian security forces in Kiev. Donnelly was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to reiterate American support for Ukrainian sovereignty in the face of an increasingly hostile Russia. Donnelly is in Eastern Europe this week to highlight the enduring importance of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program to combat threats by weapons of mass destruction globally.
Donnelly said, “It was an honor to meet with Ukrainian defense officials to discuss the importance of the U.S.-Ukraine relationship and the enduring legacy of fellow Hoosier Senator Richard Lugar. Our partnership with Ukraine is as critical today as it was in the early days of the Nunn-Lugar program. I am glad to have had this opportunity to see firsthand how Ukrainian security forces are working with us to keep nuclear materials and other weapons of mass destruction out of dangerous hands.”
Donnelly’s visit comes as this year marks the 25thanniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Act, named for former Senators Sam Nunn (D-GA) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), which established the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program. The Nunn-Lugar program was initially focused on securing nuclear material in former Soviet Union countries. Ukraine was among the first nations to voluntarily give up the nuclear arsenal inherited from the Soviet Union and has been a strong partner in ongoing efforts to counter threats posed by nuclear smuggling and the proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological weapons.
As Ranking Member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Donnelly is tasked with overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, as well as missile defense programs and nuclear non-proliferation efforts like the Nunn-Lugar program.