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Government and Politics

Ohio Sen. Portman says Ukraine's election worked
Portman was there to observe, and says now the U.S. and other countries must help Ukraine recover

Kevin Niedermier
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman is returning from Ukraine, where he was an observer for that country's special presidential election.
Courtesy of File photo
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Ohio's U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is heading back to the U.S. after helping to monitor Ukraine’s presidential election. Portman says he saw large crowds but no violence at the six polling places he observed in suburban Kiev. And as WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, Portman says the U.S. now needs to step up and help that country recover.

LISTEN: Portman on the next step for Ukraine

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Sen. Portman says the Ukrainian people he spoke with want to put the civil unrest and economic turmoil behind them and move forward after Russian’s annexation of Crimea. He believes billionaire and president-elect Petro Poroshenko will help the country recover.

And Portman is sponsoring a bill he believes will help Ukraine break Russia’s grip. It includes increasing sanctions on Russia, and lessening Ukraine’s dependence on Russian natural gas by providing more U.S. natural gas. Portman says it also calls for more enriched uranium from the U.S. to fuel Ukrainian nuclear reactors.

“In Piketon, Ohio, we have the new technology to enrich uranium for nuclear power. And I happened to have been very involved with that for a number of years, so I’m aware of the stockpile that we have. We include in the legislation that we should be offering to Ukraine the ability to access enriched uranium from the United States so they’re not dependent on Russia as they are now.”

Portman’s bill would also increase U.S. military aid to Ukraine from about $25 million to about $125 million for defensive weapons. He says the U.S. should also help Ukraine take Crimea back from Russia, and help Ukraine gain admission into NATO and the European Union.

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