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15.03.22

In Senate speech, Durbin highlights Marina Ovsyannikova, the courageous TV editor who held up a sign on Russian TV condemning the war

WASHINGTON U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), co-chair of the Ukrainian Senate Caucus, spoke in the Senate to honor various Chicago-area doctors, nurses, nonprofits and hospitals helping Ukrainians following Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unwarranted intervention. invasion of Ukraine. Durbin also pointed to Marina Ovsyannikova, the courageous editor-in-chief of Russian television, who held up a sign on a Russian state news program that read, “Don’t believe the propaganda. They lie to you here. “Russians against the war. Under a new law, she could be sentenced to 15 years in prison for even using the word “war” to describe Russia’s barbaric aggression against Ukraine. Due to Russian propaganda and censorship, many Russians are unaware of Vladimir Putin’s actions, such as the horrific bombing last week of a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol. Each of these attacks is a violation of international law, which prohibits attacking medical facilities in times of war.

An estimated 2.8 million Ukrainians – almost all women, children and the elderly – have fled to other countries, taking only a few belongings.

“We have seen a wave of revulsion against Putin and his war crimes,” Durbin said. “But we also saw an outpouring of compassion as governments and ordinary citizens volunteered to help Ukraine. Last Wednesday, a group of nine Chicago-area doctors and nurses flew to Poland to volunteer to help Ukrainians fleeing war. They brought with them 167 suitcases filled with medicines and medical equipment.

Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois donated nearly $500,000 in equipment, all paid for in donations collected in just 72 hours. The group included Ukrainian Americans, Lithuanian Americans, Polish Americans, Syrian Americans and Pakistani Americans. The trip was organized by a nonprofit group called MedGlobal, founded by Dr. Zaher Sahloul, a Syrian-American doctor. Over the years, they have carried out medical missions in Syria, Burma and other conflict-torn places.

Durbin also pointed to Lurie Children’s Hospital – they shipped a ton and a quarter of medical supplies and PPE to Ukraine. Lurie’s staff are currently exploring with federal officials how they could help bring some of Ukraine’s most seriously ill children to the United States for needed medical treatment.

“I commend America’s children’s hospitals for answering the call over the past few days to provide medical support to pediatric patients in need. I urge our federal agencies to help meet the logistical challenges. Together, we can help save some of Ukraine’s most vulnerable children,” Durbin continued.

On Wednesday, all members of the House and Senate are invited to attend a virtual address to the United States Congress delivered by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

“Tomorrow morning, a truly heroic leader, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, will address a virtual joint session of Congress. He will ask Congress and the American people to stand with Ukraine in this terrible time – to defend democracy and human dignity and help end this horrible war. We must answer this call. This fight is not that of Ukraine alone. It is the fight for democracy and the right of free people to choose their own leaders. [and] decide their own destiny. Durbin said.

Last week, the Senate passed the omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022. The $1.5 trillion package provides $13.6 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support to Ukraine. Of this amount, $6 billion is provided in humanitarian assistance from the state and USAID; $100 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) peace food aid to Ukraine; $6.5 billion in defense spending; and $19 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to support targeted sanctions measures.

Video of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks to the Senate is available here for broadcasters.

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