Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and members of the Senate Ukraine Caucus on Wednesday met with the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova, and members of the Ukrainian Parliament to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine and how U.S. lawmakers can assist with the crisis.
"Putin's unprovoked and unconscionable war on Ukraine has revealed what he really is all about," Durbin said in a statement.
"He's a tyrant, seething with resentments, driven by delusions of great mother Russia, willing to slaughter innocent men, women, and children to restore a lost Russian empire. We know from his current ravings and his past actions that Putin's ruthless pursuit of Russia's lost empire did not begin with this war, and if we don't do something about it, it won't end there either."
Rob Portman, R-Ohio, hosted the meeting in Washington, D.C., with Durbin and Ukrainian Parliament members Lesia Zaburanna, Yevheniya Kravchuk, Anastasia Radina and Maria Ionova in addition to Markarova and Polish lawmakers.
The Senate Ukraine Caucus was formed in 2015 to bolster the emerging democracy.
The Ukrainian lawmakers met for a second day Wednesday with their counterparts in the U.S. Congress, urging American allies to more quickly provide additional military aid — fighter jets, tanks, and other support — and to impose stiffer economic sanctions on the invading Russians they're trying to push from their country.
"They desperately need more help both with military assistance and the tightening of sanctions," said Portman after Wednesday's private meeting at the Capitol.
Lawmakers emerging from two days of meetings with the Ukrainians kept up a largely unified front, with both Republicans and Democrats saying more funding would be needed, beyond the nearly $14 billion in military and humanitarian aid recently approved.
The Ukrainians told reporters after meeting with House lawmakers a day earlier that they also want other air support systems as well as tanks to push the Russians back from their cities.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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