Delegation expresses bipartisan support for nation during Russian invasion and afterward
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal joined four colleagues from the House Armed Services Committee over the weekend on a bipartisan visit to Ukraine to reaffirm the U.S. support for the country in its fight to expel the Russian invaders.
During a Monday press conference recapping the visit, Rep. Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, and the other delegates praised the resolve of the Ukrainian people. They also discussed the positive impact American and allied support is having in helping Ukraine maintain forward momentum, and they discussed their thoughts on the future of American support for the country.
“We saw firsthand the human cost of Putin’s unprovoked war, but we also saw the incredible resolve from the Ukrainians to defeat their invaders,” Rep. Carbajal said during the virtual conference. “Assistance that Congress has approved that we voted for is clearly making the difference and keeping the momentum with Ukraine.”
He also applauded the Ukrainian government for its commitment to transparency in its handling of American military equipment — a factor that was at the forefront of lawmakers’ minds when beginning to craft legislation for providing such aid after widespread criticism over the lack of such mechanisms in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.
Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., dedicated much of her remarks during Monday’s press conference to the post-war future of Ukraine, declaring that American aid “can’t stop when the fighting stops.”
“I was glad to hear how much our team in embassy in Kyiv is focused on not only winning the war on the battlefield, but also on how we win for the future of Ukraine,” she said. “We met with anti-corruption civil society leaders who spoke about the importance of good governance in Ukraine’s next chapter … and we also talked with interlocutors about how the United States can better assist Ukraine in war crimes investigations and ensure perpetrators are held accountable.”
Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, the only Republican in the delegation that also included Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., used much of his remarks to warn against what he views as a slippery slope that would ensue around the globe should the U.S. and its allies falter in their support of Ukraine.
“We must be successful in assisting the people of Ukraine for victory or we will see (further invasions) in Moldova, and Georgia,” he cautioned. “We’ll see the Chinese Communist Party in Taiwan, (and) we’ll see the axis of evil continue with Tehran seeking to vaporize the people of Israel.”
Near the end of the press conference, Rep. Carbajal urged Congress to pass an omnibus budget deal rather than a continuing resolution to ensure not only continued support for Ukraine, but also to support the whole of America’s national defense apparatus.
“The Department of Defense has said that they will run out of money by spring for Ukraine,” he said. “So it’s imperative that we are able to move without delay, and a delay would be disastrous to continue the momentum in supporting Ukraine and their resolve. So I think it’s imperative that we really understand the implications of a (continuing resolution) not only for our supportive Ukraine, but for the department itself.”
Rep. Wilson said he’s confident there’s bipartisan support for an omnibus spending package to ensure continued support for Ukraine.
“The vast majority of the Republican conference support the people of Ukraine,” the Republican congressman said. “We will have the accountability (from Ukraine), which is necessary to assure the taxpayers of America that their tax money is being well used to, from my perspective, ultimately defend the people of the United States.”