Miss. Senator Also Cosponsors NYET Act to Aid Ukraine Defense & Punish Russian Aggression

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) is taking issue with the U.S. Department of State decision to essentially abandon Ukraine and the American citizens who live or work there as the threat of a Russian invasion persists.

Hyde-Smith joined U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and others in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that asks him to uphold his obligation to protect Americans in Ukraine and to provide answers as to how the State Department will protect American citizens.

“The United States must act from a position of strength to ensure any political, diplomatic, and economic efforts are effective,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The perilous situation in Ukraine doesn’t give the State Department a green light to leave our citizens behind.  We want assurances that the Biden administration will meet well-established obligations to protect U.S. citizens in foreign countries.”

The Senators want the U.S. government to uphold a Memorandum of Agreement between the State Department and the U.S. Department of Defense, which states:  “Ensuring protection of United States nationals in foreign countries is a fundamental obligation of the United States Government.  When U.S. citizens are in danger and the host nation is unable or unwilling to protect them, the U.S. Government must be prepared to protect and/or evacuate its citizens.”

Among other things, the Senators asked Blinken to address the U.S. government’s plan to protect U.S. citizens and facilitate the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Ukraine before, during, and after a Russian invasion.

“Americans have lived and traveled abroad with an expectation of U.S. government protection for decades and have done so with assurances the United States would come to their aid in the event of civil conflict,” the Senators wrote.  “Closure of the U.S. embassy and pointing Americans toward flights or overland evacuations falls far short of this government's obligations to its citizens – protection from foreign adversaries and assistance in fleeing sites of conflict.” 

Senators James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also signed in the letter.

This week, Hyde-Smith also cosponsored the Never Yielding Europe’s Territory (NYET) Act (S.3652), introduced by Senator James Risch (R-Idaho).  This legislation would provide the critical support to help Ukraine defend itself and deter Russian aggression.  A summary of the NYET Act is available here.