Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) affirmed that U.S. aid to Ukraine is a “direct investment” in the country’s interests and against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “war machine” on the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
The senate minority leader said in a statement on Friday that U.S. national security is tied to stability and security in Europe and preventing Russian forces from advancing in the continent.
“As my fellow leading Republicans and I have explained, it is not an act of charity for the United States and our NATO allies to help supply the Ukrainian people’s self-defense,” he said. “It is a direct investment in our own core national interests.”
McConnell added that the United States has largely been sending older weapons from its stockpile, allowing the U.S. to replenish its inventory with more modern versions of what’s being sent abroad.
“If Putin were given a green light to destabilize Europe, invading and killing at will, the long-term cost to the United States in both dollars and security risks would be astronomically higher than the miniscule fraction of our GDP that we have invested in Ukraine’s defense thus far,” he said.
He called on the Biden administration and U.S. allies to act more decisively in ensuring that their combined assistance to Ukraine and investments in their own militaries happen at the “speed of relevance.” He said experience has shown that weakness and hesitation are what provokes Putin to act.
“The road to peace lies in speedily surging Ukraine the tools they need to achieve victory as they define it,” McConnell said.
The Kentucky Republican said that he has spent the past week traveling with some other GOP senators to meet with leaders of U.S. allies to assure them that the country will continue to invest in its military in order to keep the NATO alliance strong and push them to make greater investments in their defenses to reduce the burden on the U.S.
The country has shown strong bipartisan support for helping Ukraine throughout much of the war over the past year, but some GOP members of Congress — such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) — have called for ending U.S. aid to Ukraine.
“We don’t pay taxes to fund foreign country’s wars who aren’t even NATO ally’s,” Greene tweeted Monday.
But other Republican leaders, like McConnell, have been steadfast in maintaining support for Ukraine, telling participants of the Munich Security Conference last week that “Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated.”