Carbajal stresses he’s committed to getting more aid to Ukraine
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, said the U.S. and other partners “can and must do more to support Ukraine” following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Congress.
President Zelensky gave an impassioned speech to Congress Wednesday morning, invoking previous tragedies in the U.S. such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. He played a graphic video showing the devastating impact Russia’s invasion has had on the people of his country.
“Russia has attacked not just us, not just our land, not just our cities. It went on a brutal offensive against our values, basic human values,” President Zelensky said through a translator during his address, which was broadcast live via videoconferencing from Kyiv. “It threw tanks and planes against our freedom, against our right to live freely in our own choosing (of) our own future, against our desire for happiness, against our national dreams. Just like the same dreams you have, you Americans, just like anybody else in the United States.”
Advocating for U.S. help with a no-fly zone, President Zelensky said, “Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people.”
Then in English, President Zelensky implored: “I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the deaths. And this is my main issue as the leader of my people, brave Ukrainians. And as the leader of my nation, I am addressing President Biden. You are the leader of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.”
Sharing a picture of President Zelensky, dressed in his usual army-green shirt, Rep. Carbajal reaffirmed his commitment to helping Ukraine.
Rep. Carbajal is a member of the House Armed Services Committee who visited Ukraine in December and met with military and government officials.
“I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Joe Biden to secure the additional aid that President Zelensky asked for today: helping Ukraine acquire the military capabilities it needs to clear its airspace of threats, providing additional humanitarian and security assistance, and implementing more crippling sanctions to continue defunding Russia’s war effort,” Rep. Carbajal said.
“The brutality of Russia’s unjustified assault on Ukraine is clear, and the U.S. and our partners can and must do more to support Ukraine and bring an end to this war,” he said.
President Joe Biden, in an address to the nation later Wednesday, committed an additional $800 million in aid to Ukraine — meaning a total of $1 billion has been allocated to help Ukraine this week — and decried the “atrocities” Russian President Vladimir Putin is committing in Ukraine.
The new aid package includes hundreds of anti-aircraft systems and thousands of anti-armor systems as well as drones, rifles, machine guns, pistols, body armor and helmets and ammunition.
“He speaks for a people who have shown remarkable courage and strength in the face of brutal aggression — courage and strength that has inspired not only Ukrainians, but the entire world,” President Biden said. “Putin is inflicting appalling, appalling devastation on Ukraine, bombing apartment buildings, maternity wards, hospitals.”
Still, President Biden and Rep. Carbajal have stopped short of out-right supporting a no-fly zone. U.S. leaders have warned a no-fly zone could be an escalatory move.
“Enforcing a ‘no-fly zone’ would mean sending American and NATO pilots into direct confrontation with the Russian military — something I think we can all understand is an escalatory outcome that should be avoided after we spent a large portion of last century facing that same risk,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement to the News-Press. “Whether it’s boots on the ground or boots in the air, sending American armed forces into Ukraine is an escalatory step in this war that I do not support at this time.”
“I believe we can help Ukraine have the means to fight Russian air power with its own capabilities,” he continued.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she supports President Zelensky’s request for advanced defensive weaponry, saying the U.S. must lead the efforts for international diplomacy and economic pressure on Russia to end the war.
“This war has killed thousands and more than 3 million Ukrainians have already fled their country,” Sen. Feinstein said on social media. “We must do all we can to end the suffering and make sure Vladimir Putin understands this is not a war he can win.”