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Senator Lankford and Congressman Russell Travel to Ukraine and NATO

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Congressman Steve Russell (R-OK) returned to the United States today after traveling to Ukraine and NATO to evaluate key anti-terrorism intelligence programs in the region, and visit members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade currently deployed in Ukraine. 

This trip took place during the Veterans Day weekend from November 9 to November 13 with Senate Intelligence Committee staff and military personnel. While overseas, Lankford and Russell met with Ukrainian Parliamentary leadership to discuss regional instability and how American operations are impacting national security. They also met with NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison, NATO senior leaders, and Embassy officials to discuss diplomatic relations and Russian activity in Ukraine. Lankford and Russell also spent time with the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade to discuss their mission and to thank them for their service.

“The men and women of the Oklahoma Army National Guard continue to set the standard and provide invaluable assistance to the Ukrainian military,” said Lankford. “I can think of no better way to spend Veterans Day weekend than to spend it with the members of the 45th. Our fellow Oklahomans are helping the people of Ukraine defend themselves from Russian occupation. The people of Ukraine are incredibly grateful and the families of the 45th and all of our state should be incredibly proud.”

Lankford continued, “The Senate Intelligence Committee work continues to occupy a great deal of my time and attention. We face threats every day, but we also have men and women serving around the globe each day to keep us safe. It is essential to give them an opportunity to discuss their needs and the work they do so we can support their work and oversee the mission.”

“We are thankful to our Oklahoma National Guardsmen who serve around the globe making our world safer, said Russell. “It was an honor to visit them with Senator Lankford. Our efforts in Ukraine are vital to the defense of eastern Europe and the security of the entire region. We look forward for when the 45th’s 279th Infantry comes home later this year.”

Members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade have been deployed to Ukraine for the past year, supporting a training mission with Ukrainian security forces. The 45th Infantry Brigade is tasked with assisting the Ukrainian Combat Training Center through mentoring Ukrainian combat training staff and improving their training ability

In the last year, Lankford has traveled to Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Kosovo, South Korea, and Guatemala to evaluate American security operations and anti-terrorism intelligence programs.