House warns Ukraine against violent response to protestors

The House on Monday voted overwhelmingly to pass a non-binding resolution that calls on Ukraine to stop all government violence against peaceful demonstrators calling for democratic reforms.

Members approved a resolution from Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) that had bipartisan cosponsorship, and was easily approved 381-2. The two "no" votes came from Republicans.

ADVERTISEMENT
The resolution is a reaction to Ukraine's response to protests that have evolved since November, when Ukraine pulled out of talks to sign an association agreement with the European Union. Last month, Ukraine sought to silence protestors by passing a law limiting their rights, which has led to increased violence.

"At this moment, we must stand with the people of Ukraine more than ever before," Engel said on the House floor just before the vote.

"It is a timely appeal to the government of the Ukraine to stand down and to avoid all further violence, to exercise the utmost restraint and avoid confrontation," said Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) of the resolution.

"It calls on the government to bring to justice those responsible for violence against peaceful protestors, and to release and drop any criminal changes against those detailed for peacefully exercising their democratic rights."

The House also passed the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2431. The bill extends the NIDIS program and looks to improve it by requiring the program to provide forecasts and assessments about drought at the national and regional levels, and by requiring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to report to Congress on the program.

Members passed this bill 365-21.