House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called on President Obama to lift restrictions on natural gas exports to help Ukraine free itself from Russia's military and economic grasp.

“The U.S. Department of Energy's excruciatingly slow approval process amounts to a de facto ban on American natural gas exports that Vladimir Putin has happily exploited to finance his geopolitical goals,” Boehner said in a statement. “We should not force our allies to remain dependent on Putin for their energy needs.”

Boehner said the United States must help Ukraine “in the face of Russia's invasion,” and said Congress will back up President Obama “on measures to impose consequences on Russia for its hostile act.”

The United States has reduced supplies of fuel to Ukraine over the past decade and the country now relies heavily on Russia for energy.

The U.S. is already trying to help Ukraine pay for fuel by putting together a $1 billion loan package for the country.