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house Bill H.R. 596

Should the U.S. Refuse To Recognize Russian Sovereignty Over Crimea?

Argument in favor

Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea sets a dangerous precedent for the potential annexation of other neighboring nations, such as Moldova, Georgia, and the Baltic Republics.

Gale's Opinion
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03/10/2019
We should absolutely refuse to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea. This is extremely important since President Trump seems to be inclined to do whatever Putin wants. The Russians basically invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine and annexed an important part of that country. The United States must take the clear position that this is an unacceptable violation of international law and illegal aggression which cannot stand. How would we feel if Russia decided to annex Alaska? Would we think other countries should just accept it? What countries will Russia annex next? What if North Korea decides to annex South Korea or China decides to annex parts of Japan? The entire world must stand united against such violations of national sovereignty. This is exactly how the last two World Wars started and we must take a stand now to prevent another. Congress must do it because Trump has no understanding of history and no notion of national security other than my button is bigger than yours. God help us.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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03/12/2019
Because they are not. Ukraine 🇺🇦 is the sovereign nation in Crimea. Russia is occupying it illegally.
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Bridget's Opinion
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03/12/2019
Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea sets a dangerous precedent for the potential annexation of other neighboring nations, such as Moldova, Georgia, and the Baltic Republics.
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Argument opposed

Crimean citizens reportedly voted in favor of joining the Russia Federation. The U.S. shouldn’t condemn an action that was supported by the people who were directly affected.

Mark's Opinion
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03/12/2019
So five years after the fact the Democrats are suddenly concerned about the Ukrainians? What a disingenuous bucket of slime they are. Obama let Russia / Putin roll into the Crimea totally unopposed. Obama even refused to sell the Ukrainians light military weapons such as rifles and anti-tank shoulder fired rockets. Obama’s support would have turned things around in the Ukrainians favor immediately, thus allowing the Ukrainians to push the Russians back out of the Crimea with no real effort on our part.
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Pelageya's Opinion
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03/12/2019
Stop meddling in other country's business! Crimea is Russia, has been for over 200 years. Citizens of Crimea voted to stay with Russia, as was expected. This is absurd!
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Hans's Opinion
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03/12/2019
No. But this is not our sphere of influence thus our response should be to curtail further aggression by supporting the countries that desire defensive assistance. These do not necessarily need to be required NATO membership and support does not necessarily mean military.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house Passed March 12th, 2019
    Roll Call Vote 427 Yea / 1 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 16th, 2019

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What is House Bill H.R. 596?

This bill would prohibit the U.S. government from recognizing the  Russian Federation's claim to sovereignty over Crimea, a territory Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014. It would prohibit federal departments and agencies from taking any action that recognizes or implies the recognition of this annexation. 

This bill would authorize the President to waive these prohibitions in the event that it's necessary to do so to protect U.S. national security interests.

Impact

Federal U.S. departments and agencies; Ukrainian citizens; people who live in the Crimean region; the Russian government; Congress; and U.S./Russia diplomatic relations.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 596

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) reintroduced this bill from the 115th — and, before that, the 113th and 114th — Congress to prohibit federal agencies from taking action that recognizes Russian sovereignty over Crimea. In a press release, Rep. Connolly said:

"Congress must lead the way in refusing to acknowledge the forcible and illegal annexation of Crimea. Failure to stand up to Russian aggression in the region will only embolden Putin. We are declaring with one bipartisan voice that Congress stands with Crimea.”

Rep. Chabot added

"Putin is a bully and a thug. His continued violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity is simply unacceptable. Russia’s occupation of Crimea is bad enough, but Putin has decided to escalate tensions even further with his reckless behavior in the Sea of Azov. This legislation demonstrates our bipartisan commitment to upholding Ukrainian sovereignty and pushing back against Putin’s continued aggression."

Last Congress, Rep. Connolly introduced this bill to prohibit federal agencies from taking actions that recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea:

"The United States must lead the way in refusing to recognize or legitimate the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. Congress must be a loud and declarative voice for sovereignty. Failure to stand up against Putin's illegal annexation of Crimea will set a dangerous and irrevocable precedent. Acquiescence on the part of the U.S. threatens the security of all sovereign nations."

The European Council on Foreign Relations argues that non-recognition of Crimea by both the EU and the U.S. is critical to ensuring European stability:

"It is worth recalling that the EU’s policy is not just about Crimea but also about upholding international order. The non-recognition policy represents the EU’s commitment to international law as the normative framework underpinning international order. The sanctions are intended to show that breaching that order comes at a cost. Not taking a stance would imply that using force to annex territory was acceptable international behaviour. This would erode the integrity of the international system and set a dangerous precedent. The policy is a way to defend the European security order, as set out in the Helsinki Accords. This order is built on the principles of the inviolability of international borders, the right of states to determine their political orientation, and the rejection of spheres of influence – all of which are principles that Russia challenged through the annexation. In this sense, the policy pushes back against Russia’s revisionism and claim that it has the right to a sphere of influence over its neighbours. For Russia, the annexation of Crimea was not only about taking territory, but also about imposing a sphere of influence by destabilising and punishing Kyiv for choosing the EU over Russia. For the EU’s non-recognition and sanctions policy to be credible, it will have to commit for the long term. It took half a century for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to regain their independence from the Soviet Union. Throughout this period, the United States and a number of European states maintained non-recognition policies, which were instrumental in ensuring the independence of the Baltic States in 1991."

This bill has 20 bipartisan cosponsors, including 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans, in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had 21 bipartisan cosponsors, including 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans, and didn't receive a committee voteIdentical legislation passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee in both the 113th and 114th Congress, but didn't receive a vote on the House floor in either session.

The FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act included similar language to this bill, prohibiting Dept. of Defense funds from being used on any action that recognizes Russian sovereignty over Crimea. This legislation would apply that prohibition to the federal government writ large.


Of Note: Small protests began in Ukraine in November 2013 following then-President Viktor Yanukovich’s decision to abandon an agreement for closer trade relations with the European Union (EU). He instead sought closer economic cooperation with Russia. The Ukrainian government responded to public unrest by passing an anti-protest law, which escalated the protests. Activist leaders, the political opposition, and Yanukovich eventually reach an agreement to hold early elections in order to form a new government.

Unhappy with the new administration in Ukraine, pro-Russian protesters rallied in the eastern Ukrainian region of Crimea. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin then deployed hundreds of Russian troops to Crimea in order to maintain order in the region, claiming that Russia reserves the right to protect the ethnic Russians in Crimea.

On March 6, 2014, Crimea’s parliament voted in favor of succeeding from Ukraine and joining Russia. A public referendum was conducted, wherein over 93 percent of Crimean citizens reportedly voted in favor of union with Russia. The U.S. and other Western nations subsequently deemed the referendum illegal. Ignoring international condemnation, Vladimir Putin continued with the signing of the treaty to absorb Crimea into Russia on March 18, 2014. The United States and the European Union responded with heavy economic sanctions on Russia.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user mwmbwls)

AKA

To prohibit United States Government recognition of the Russian Federation's claim of sovereignty over Crimea, and for other purposes.

Official Title

To prohibit United States Government recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea.

    We should absolutely refuse to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea. This is extremely important since President Trump seems to be inclined to do whatever Putin wants. The Russians basically invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine and annexed an important part of that country. The United States must take the clear position that this is an unacceptable violation of international law and illegal aggression which cannot stand. How would we feel if Russia decided to annex Alaska? Would we think other countries should just accept it? What countries will Russia annex next? What if North Korea decides to annex South Korea or China decides to annex parts of Japan? The entire world must stand united against such violations of national sovereignty. This is exactly how the last two World Wars started and we must take a stand now to prevent another. Congress must do it because Trump has no understanding of history and no notion of national security other than my button is bigger than yours. God help us.
    Like (72)
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    So five years after the fact the Democrats are suddenly concerned about the Ukrainians? What a disingenuous bucket of slime they are. Obama let Russia / Putin roll into the Crimea totally unopposed. Obama even refused to sell the Ukrainians light military weapons such as rifles and anti-tank shoulder fired rockets. Obama’s support would have turned things around in the Ukrainians favor immediately, thus allowing the Ukrainians to push the Russians back out of the Crimea with no real effort on our part.
    Like (40)
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    Because they are not. Ukraine 🇺🇦 is the sovereign nation in Crimea. Russia is occupying it illegally.
    Like (37)
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    Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea sets a dangerous precedent for the potential annexation of other neighboring nations, such as Moldova, Georgia, and the Baltic Republics.
    Like (31)
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    The "vote" occurred after an invasion, with armed guards standing on the street corners.
    Like (27)
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    Russia action have for to longer been left unchecked. We need to take action such as not recognizing their authority in the region.
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    If the US recognized Russian sovereignty over Crimea, we would be recognizing that theft of land is acceptable. Vladimir Putin would most certainly take advantage of such an invitation.
    Like (13)
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    This was a land grab on the part of Russia and should not be rewarded.
    Like (11)
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    Stop meddling in other country's business! Crimea is Russia, has been for over 200 years. Citizens of Crimea voted to stay with Russia, as was expected. This is absurd!
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    To annex a country or region by military force, on the rationale that one is protecting ethnic groups, is a breach of international law. It is essentially the same as Hitler's Germany did to Austria and the Sudetanland, and is a dangerous precedent for Russia to do precisely the same to the Baltic States. The US needs to stand up for respect for international norms and state sovereignty.
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    The United States of America had DAMN WELL BETTER NOT GIVE OUR BLESSING TO THE ILLEGAL ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA BY RUSSIA! THIS AMERICAN IS SICK OF THE LACK OF MORAL VALUES OF THE REPUBLICANS & THIS HORROR OF A PRESIDENT IN PARTICULAR. TRUMP HAS SAID HE BELIEVES PUTIN OVER AMERICA'S INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES! LOCK HIM UP AND EVERY REPUBLICAN IN CONGRESS THAT IS NOT ONLY ALLOWING THIS CRAP BUT, THEY ARE ACTIVE PLAYERS IN THIS DESTRUCTION OF AMERICA!
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    Yes, Crimea does not belong to Russia, quit giving Russia everything on Putin’s wish list, you traitors
    Like (7)
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    Russia annexed Crimea while it was under a military occupation already by Russia and after a referendum on joining Russia in Crimea that was obviously fraudulent. Crimea is probably not going to be given back to Ukraine, but the U.S. should not recognize Russia’s illegal land grab.
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    But the last paragraph should be changed, that the President must have Congressional approval prior him doing ANYTHING. The current POTUS would in a heart beat do ANYTHING that Putin told him to do!
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    No. But this is not our sphere of influence thus our response should be to curtail further aggression by supporting the countries that desire defensive assistance. These do not necessarily need to be required NATO membership and support does not necessarily mean military.
    Like (6)
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    Russia has no right to take over the sovereignty of another nation. And as a sovereign nation the United States should stand with all other sovereign nation‘s in protecting their right to exist. Russia is violating a basic human right to an entire country. That is, the countries and it’s peoples right to determine their own destiny. Russia is a bad actor internationally and the United States of America and its allies should be standing with Crimea and insisting their independence be honored.
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    Yes! Refuse!
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    It was taken by force we should not recognize this action positively
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    It is dangerous to allow them to do so with no reprisal.
    Like (4)
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    I mean, President Trump has already done this, but sure I guess Congress can reaffirm it. Anyone who pays any real attention to foreign policy would know that the Trump Administration has been tougher on Russia than the last three administrations combined. Obama virtually handed Crimea to Putin, after telling Russia that he’d be ‘more flexible with them [Russia]’ after his re-election. Obama also sat back and did nothing as they developed INF Treaty violating missiles and aided Syria in keeping its chemical weapons; among many other foreign policy debacles. Yet President Trump has been easy, or friendly with Russia? That’s funny, because he has sold heavy weapons to Ukraine to fight Russian separatists (which Obama refused to do), he’s sanctioned Russia in unprecedented fashion, the US is openly and strategically cutting into Putin’s bottom line by taking Russia’s natural gas market, he terminated the now failed INF Treaty with Russia, and he has expelled numerous Russian ‘diplomats’ as a result of their use of a biological agent on UK soil among other actions.
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