Aid For Ukraine is an Investment In U.S. National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine:

“Last month, by an overwhelming, bipartisan margin, the Senate approved a package of urgent assistance to Ukraine.

“Then, over the Memorial Day state work period, our friends on the front lines marked their 100th day of resisting the latest stab of Russian aggression.

“As colleagues and I can attest from our visit with President Zelensky and his team in Kyiv, the people of Ukraine continue to display incredible resilience and bravery.

“Every day brave Ukrainian soldiers pay the ultimate sacrifice to defend the sovereignty of their democratic country. And every day innocent Ukrainians are suffering under Russia’s brutal and indiscriminate assault. 

Over a hundred days of war, Ukraine’s resolve has remained firm. Can the same be said of the West? 

“As Russia pumps more combat power to the front, Ukraine’s soldiers need more weapons. They need more powerful weapons. And they need longer-range weapons to counter Russia’s offensive forces from safety.

“We should not delay the provision of these life-saving capabilities. 

“Our objective is not to humiliate Putin, but to help Ukraine defend itself. That is what should guide our decisions, not Vladimir Putin’s ego.

“We should not be self-deterred by fears that Putin will escalate. Those most affected by the risk of escalation are the Ukrainians – and they are not deterred. They are fighting for their lives, and Putin is already indiscriminately leveling their cities. Those concerned with escalation consider what Putin will do to their cities if he is NOT stopped by Ukraine. 

“But some of Ukraine’s supporters here in the West have yet to learn this lesson. Some of our wealthiest NATO members have dragged their feet in greenlighting the sort of military assistance our Eastern Flank allies have delivered willingly but at tremendous cost.

“Some Eastern Flank partners have also welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees into their countries, and there is more that wealthy European countries can do to help provide military, economic, and humanitarian relief in this time of crisis.

“And here at home, the Biden Administration’s hemming and hawing and self-deterrence has slowly, incrementally given way to a more confident policy. But it’s come attached to utterly incoherent public messaging.

“The Biden Administration should clarify that it will continue to provide Ukraine with longer-range rockets so it can defend itself from massive artillery barrages that are being fired from Ukrainian territory. 

“The administration should clarify whether it will provide anti-ship missiles so Ukraine can target Russian threats to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and the critical export of Ukraine’s grain harvest. Putin is weaponizing global food shortages and we can and should help the Ukrainians do something about it.

“Doing so will send a signal to hesitant partners that they, too, should be providing Ukraine with these critical capabilities.

“But reluctance to get Ukraine what it needs is particularly baffling when you consider what a Russian victory would mean for our own national security interests.

“Letting a vibrant Western-facing democracy fall into Russian control would send the price of our own security operations on the continent through the roof.

“It would put America’s closest allies and trading partners one border closer to an autocratic bully.

“And half a world away, it would tell other bullies like the Chinese Communist Party that lawless conquest of their neighbors isn’t just possible. It’s permitted.

“If America and our allies aren’t willing to do everything we can to help Ukraine win before it’s too late, we’ll face costly, outsized consequences before long.”