U.S. Must Back Rhetoric on Ukraine With Concrete Action

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

“Yesterday, President Biden addressed the country about the ongoing crisis that Russia has created on its border with Ukraine. There was much in the President’s remarks that I appreciated.

“He was right to candidly remind the Russian people that neither the United States, nor NATO, nor Ukraine want a war. He was right to emphasize that the world will not shrug or stand idly by if Vladimir Putin tries to invade his neighbor or redraw the map of Europe through deadly force.

“We have spent much time discussing Russia’s alleged security concerns, and not enough time examining the legitimate concerns of Russia’s neighbors, many of whom have a long history of being invaded by Moscow. The concerns of these free, sovereign states matter, too. And the President would do well to amplify their voices, and their historical experiences.

“So it is fine for President Biden to engage in good faith diplomacy, provided we are skeptical about Putin’s intentions. Thus far, Putin’s behavior is proving how little he can be trusted and how little he is interested in diplomacy as anything other than a gambit to divide the West or a pretext for war.

“The United States must keep sending these strong messages, verbally and with concrete actions. Both right now, before any hostilities, and then with devastating force if Putin does plow ahead.

“The United States and our partners should waste no time in helping Ukraine prepare for war. Weapons, materiel, advice, logistics, intelligence.  We should be building the infrastructure to help Ukrainians sustain their resistance to Russian aggression if and when it comes.

“I welcome the President’s deployment of additional forces to the territory of NATO allies situated on our alliance’s eastern flank. I recommended he take such action months ago. And I’m 

particularly grateful to the Kentuckians of the 101st Airborne Division who are leaving Ft. Campbell this week to join NATO reinforcements in Eastern Europe.

“As our diplomats work to halt the train of Russian aggression, it is the brave men and women of the U.S. military who give their words weight.

“I’m hopeful that President Biden will rise to the occasion. As a bipartisan group of colleagues and I made clear in a joint statement yesterday, the President would have overwhelming bipartisan support to use his existing executive authorities for tough sanctions against Russia in the event of conflict.

“We should acknowledge Putin’s use of energy as a weapon. And if the President is serious about providing relief for Americans at the pump or blunting Putin’s manipulation of energy markets, he will stop his Administration’s anti-energy policies that make it harder for our own producers to explore, produce, and export energy to vulnerable allies.

“And while our eastern flank allies have consistently taken a clear-eyed approach to their own defense, it’s time for America to invest more meaningfully in our own military capabilities and demand that our allies in Western Europe follow suit.

“Whether the Administration is serious about competition with Russia and China will be clear when it submits its FY23 budget request. Our allies and adversaries will be watching.”


Related Issues: Russia, National Security, China, America's Military