Thursday, September 04, 2014

Sen. Levin returns from Ukraine and Iraq

WASHINGTON -- Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., has returned from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Erbil, Iraq, where he met with senior officials in the Ukrainian government and the Kurdistan regional government.

"The Ukrainian nation and the Ukrainian military have shown determination in taking on separatists armed and organized by the Putin regime," Levin said. "Now they face an even greater threat, as Russian armed forces have entered eastern Ukraine in significant numbers with heavy weapons."

Levin  further stated: "The Kurdish Peshmerga, a guerrilla force built to resist the oppressive Saddam Hussein regime, is now adapting itself to take on a new and different kind of enemy in the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."

"Both the Ukrainians and the Kurds have shown the will to fight in their own defense.  Both want and deserve our support," Levin stated. "I believe it is very much in our interest to provide them the weapons and assistance they need to defend themselves against the serious threats that they and we face."

In Kyiv, Senator Levin met with Foreign Minister Klimkin; Defense Minister Heletey; the head of the Ukrainian security services; and the acting head of the National Security and Defense Council.

In Erbil, Senator Levin met with Kurdish President Barzani; the head of the Kurdish National Security Council; the Director of the Kurdish Department of Foreign Relations; Deputy Prime Minister Talabani; and religious and civic leaders from Iraqi religious minority communities.

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