01.24.23

McConnell: Ukraine Assistance Must Aim at Victory

‘It’s time — past time — for the Biden Administration and our allies to get serious about helping Ukraine finish the job and retake their country.’

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 almost a full year since Vladimir Putin escalated Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.

“Nearly nine years since he began his military effort to take over the sovereign country in early 2014.

“And Putin’s non-military efforts to meddle in Ukraine, undermine it, and control its population long predated that.

“It’s been fifteen years since Putin invaded Georgia. And a few years before that, he said publicly the breakup of the Soviet Union was, ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.’

“The former KGB agent who’s run the Kremlin for two decades has been very consistent: Repression at home. Aggression abroad. Assassinations. Invasions. Poisonings. Political interference.

“And whenever the rest of the world responded with accommodation rather than with resolve, Putin drew the natural conclusion that he could do what he wanted.

“But for the last 11 months, the brave men and women of Ukraine have defied the odds. They’ve endured tremendous hardship and stood their ground. They’ve fought bravely for their families, their freedom, and their country.

“At every step of the way, investments from the United States and our allies have equipped the Ukrainian people to exact a heavy price from the Russian invaders.

“Western assistance has played a key role.

“But it’s come too slowly and haltingly.

“Despite my urging the Biden Administration to act sooner, aid did not come early enough to help Ukraine deter Putin’s escalation before it happened, nor to slow down Russia’s brutal and rapid advance in the East and South.

“It has not come quickly enough to help Ukraine sustain counteroffensives or fully defend its cities against missile and drone attacks. 

“The United States and our friends and partners have done enough to prevent Ukraine from losing. But we have not yet done enough to help Ukraine win.

“A protracted stalemate is neither in Ukraine’s interest nor ours.

“The solution that is both the most humane and the most advantageous to America’s interests is simple: Help Ukraine win the war.

“We know what it’ll take to make this possible. As our colleague, Senator Wicker, said: ‘We can shift this war immediately in Ukraine’s favor by providing a range of advanced weapons, including tanks, drones, and tactical missiles.’

“And as Chairman McCaul from the House said this past weekend, it’s not the U.S. that will be provocative if we send stronger assistance. ‘Mr. Putin is the provocative one… he invaded a sovereign territory, aggressively unprovoked.’

“Yet some of freedom’s most powerful friends remain hesitant. 

“For many months, Germany has not only resisted calls to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but has also prevented other European nations to transfer their own German-produced Leopards to Ukraine. Time is short, and while Berlin agonizes over its own decision whether to provide Leopards to Ukraine, it should proactively and explicitly make clear that other allies are free to do so.

“And what about the Biden Administration here at home? The Administration’s latest deliveries failed to include the longer range missiles and more sophisticated munitions that Ukraine has been requesting for months.

“Mr. President, Ukraine’s brave resistance deserves our continued praise.

“But more importantly, it needs our concrete and consistent material support.

“Ukraine’s friends cannot keep self-deterring ourselves and letting the aggressors, the invaders, dictate the pace.

“It’s time — past time — for the Biden Administration and our allies to get serious about helping Ukraine finish the job and retake their country.”

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Related Issues: National Security, Russia