WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, today made the following statement regarding his congressional delegation trip to Russia, which included meetings with high-level U.S. government and Russian officials:
“During a time of heightened tensions between Russia and the United States, I led a congressional delegation, the largest in many years, to Russia to meet with key leaders of the Russian government. Our goal was to have a sober assessment of our differences and to put the unvarnished truth on the table.
“We had candid discussions with the Foreign Minister, members of the Duma, and the Federation Council about a number of issues, including election interference, Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria. We were honest and frank in expressing our concerns and our shared belief that Russia must make changes in its behavior if our relationship is going to thaw.
“The United States does not want, nor does it need, to resume a Cold War posture with Russia, and our delegation trip was a small step towards trying to ensure that does not happen. We will always be competitors, but we do not have to be adversaries. Russia can achieve a better relationship with the U.S., but it has to be earned, one step at a time.”
The group of congressional members also stopped to meet with officials in Finland and Norway.