As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the U.S. Capitol, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia expressed her continued support for that country’s efforts to push away Russian forces.
Capito, a Republican, told reporters during a conference call today that she had just come from a briefing with Zelenskyy.
“He framed the situation in Ukraine as very difficult, but also an affront to every democracy — not just his, but ours and NATO democracies — and that the strength of our allies and our NATO friends in helping Ukraine push back and weaken (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will help our own national security. I believe this to be true,” Capito said.
“We know that the Chinese are watching what goes on. If we turn our backs now on a fight for freedom in a country that’s been illegally invaded by a dictator who is brutally killing people, we are showing weakness. So I am ready to keep my support for the Ukrainians through our military aid. I know it’s been going on for a while, but I still think the fight is there and it certainly was there with President Zelenskyy.”
Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington, D.C., included an all-senators meeting and and a bipartisan meeting with a group of representatives. President Joe Biden in August asked lawmakers to approve another $24 billion in aid to Ukraine.
There is not unanimity of support in Congress, though. A coalition of 28 GOP lawmakers from the Senate and House signed a letter opposing Biden’s request.
Zelenskyy’s visit came as debate rages in the House of Representatives over federal allocations, including a stopgap continuing resolution that omits aid to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy this week also spoke before the United Nations and accused Russia of waging “a criminal and unprovoked aggression.” Meanwhile, Russia launched a missile barrage across Ukraine that targeted energy infrastructure.
“It is very clear to me that, number one, we’ve got to keep forcing the pressure on Putin to back off, to force him to the negotiating table and the only way to do that is with more weapons. They only understand might, and might is what the Ukrainian people are asking for. They’re asking for munitions; they’re not asking for our men and women on their soil and we wouldn’t do that anyway,” Capito said.
“So in my view, the longer war, a never-ending war would be to let Putin declare victory and then he begins to invade Poland, and then he begins to invade other countries in NATO and then you have a never ending war — because that’s what’s going to happen. President Xi in China is watching this, and I think American strength is what signals to the rest of the world where and how to participate. And it’s important for us to stay strong.”