America’s Partners in Asia Know Ukraine’s Future Will Impact Theirs

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

“The Ukrainian people’s fight to repel Russian invaders from their sovereign territory has been inspiring. The world has watched Ukraine respond to gut-wrenching violence with bravery and unity.

“I encouraged President Biden to do more to strengthen Ukraine and NATO’s defenses in advance, so as to deter Putin and improve Ukraine’s initial ability to resist aggression. Many Republicans shared my view that President Biden should have done more to help Ukraine, and more quickly.

“Fortunately, as the Ukrainians have stood strong, President Biden has done more and more to help them in this fight. We’re now investing to ensure Ukraine’s forces are equipped to win and the arsenals of NATO allies who have joined in support can be replenished.

“As I explained yesterday, American support for Ukraine is not mere altruism. The outcome of Ukraine’s fight to preserve its sovereignty will have massive consequences for our own strategic interests – both in Europe and much farther afield.

“Let’s start with just that continent. Europe is home to some of America’s longest-standing friendships and deepest trading partnerships. If Vladimir Putin’s thuggish imperialism found success in Ukraine, America and our allies would feel the effects.

“Prior to the current conflict in Ukraine, Putin’s creeping expansionism, his interventions and manipulations of so-called frozen conflicts from Georgia and Crimea and Transnistria only emboldened him. It must be stopped.

“Beyond Europe’s borders, Putin’s fellow strongmen are watching for whether it’s safe to follow his lead.

“In Beijing, President Xi’s Communist Party is looking for a green light to apply the Russian model to their own wish-list of sovereign territories to subjugate, starting, of course, with Taiwan.

“For their part, the Taiwanese people know they’re in the crosshairs. As they’ve demonstrated in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the warning on the island in recent months has been, ‘Today, Ukraine. Tomorrow, Taiwan.’

“As Taiwan’s Foreign Minister put it recently in The Washington Post, ‘the war in Ukraine has made it clear to the world how important it is for democracies to stand shoulder to shoulder against authoritarian aggression.’

“Fortunately, fellow democracies in the Indo-Pacific are doing exactly that. Earlier this month, Japan’s Defense Minister acknowledged that China has been, ‘carefully observing’ both ‘Russia’s aggression’ and the reactions of the international community.

“And Prime Minister Kishida reaffirmed that we must, ‘never tolerate a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by the use of force in the Indo Pacific.’

“From Kyiv to Taipei to Tokyo, America’s friends and partners see Russia’s behavior for what it is – a dangerous spark to be stamped out.

“Ukraine is succeeding in large part because it took its security seriously. 

“Especially since the 2014 invasion, Ukraine reformed its military training, doctrine, and operations. They abandoned the outdated Soviet model for a more dynamic Western approach. With help from the West, Ukraine invested in its capabilities.

“Other allies and partners should heed these lessons sooner rather than later. They should invest in their own defenses, seek interoperability with like-minded partners, and seize opportunities to train with top-tier militaries like ours. 

“We must continue to help them do exactly that.”


Related Issues: Russia, China, National Security