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.
What is House Bill H.R. 596?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 596
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 vote. Identical 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.
- Sponsoring Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) Press Release (116th Congress)
- Sponsoring Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) Press Release (115th Congress)
- EuroMaidan Press
To prohibit United States Government recognition of the Russian Federation's claim of sovereignty over Crimea, and for other purposes.
To prohibit United States Government recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
Committee on Foreign Relations
- senate Committees
- The house Passed March 12th, 2019Roll Call Vote 427 Yea / 1 Nay
Committee on Foreign AffairsIntroducedJanuary 16th, 2019
- house Committees