McConnell on Ukraine’s Progress and Needed Next Steps
‘President Biden should be clear with western Europe about the need for them to make meaningful, specific contributions to Ukraine — and fast. He should also be clear with our allies that our defense holiday is over. It is time for all of us to rebuild our militaries and defense industrial bases… Beijing, Tehran, and other authoritarian regimes cannot think for one minute that trampling free peoples’ sovereignty will go unpunished.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine:
“It’s been encouraging to see good news regarding the Ukrainian people’s fight to defend and reclaim their sovereignty.
“Latest reports indicate that Ukraine has recently liberated 2,400 square miles of their own territory from Russian hands.
“The sight of a democratic nation beating back totalitarian aggression continues to inspire the free world.
“It should make other thugs think twice about following in Putin’s footsteps. But obviously, it is not nearly time to ease up.
“An axis of authoritarians is still pulling hard for Ukraine to fail.
“Iran is equipping the Russian military with armed drones like the ones they and their proxies have used against American forces in Syria and Iraq, and against our Israeli, Emirati, and Saudi partners.
“North Korea is reportedly refilling Russia’s artillery stockpiles.
“And the PRC have publicly supported Moscow’s narrative through every Russian atrocity.
“So our Ukrainian friends may still face a long hard struggle to achieve victory as they define it. But western countries can help by stepping up the pace of our collective assistance.
“Ukraine’s hard-won successes on the battlefield could have come even earlier if the Biden Administration — and European allies that take their cues from Washington — had been quicker and more proactive to deliver the capabilities Ukraine needed.
“Ukrainian forces are working wonders with Western equipment. They’ve quickly integrated cutting-edge systems like HIMARS and Javelin and Stinger missiles.
“The West’s hesitance to put these capabilities in the right hands has cost lives. Horrors could have been avoided if the Biden Administration and our European partners hadn’t been self-deterred from providing these tools sooner.
“The Ukrainians need more of the weapons we’ve been giving them, they need to start getting them faster, and they also need new capabilities like longer-range ATACMS, larger drones, and tanks.
“Not all of these weapons need to come from America. But make no mistake: our allies are looking to us for signals.
“President Biden should be clear with western Europe about the need for them to make meaningful, specific contributions to Ukraine — and fast.
“He should also be clear with our allies that our defense holiday is over. It is time for all of us to rebuild our militaries and defense industrial bases.
“This will take urgent investments, regulatory reform, and prioritization to expand our capacity to produce critical munitions and systems.
“These short- and long-term steps alike are in Europe’s vital interests, America’s vital interests, and the entire free world’s.
“Beijing, Tehran, and other authoritarian regimes cannot think for one minute that trampling free peoples’ sovereignty will go unpunished.”