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Orest Deychakiwsky

THE UNITED STATES MUST HELP UKRAINE WITH AID AND WEAPONS

 

Regarding the Jan. 29 news article “Lankford defends bipartisan border security bill after attacks from GOP”:

Not providing badly needed assistance to Ukraine would be a radical departure from Congress’s historical bipartisan support for Ukraine’s freedom.

Even before Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, Congress, on a bipartisan basis, pressed Moscow to release imprisoned Ukrainian human rights activists, who constituted a disproportionate share of Soviet political prisoners. It called for Moscow to legalize the persecuted Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, then one of the largest banned religious denominations in the world. In the waning months of the Soviet Union, Congress passed legislation encouraging a reluctant Bush administration to recognize Ukraine’s independence.

Post-independence, Congress provided substantial aid to Ukraine to bolster its independence and democracy.

I witnessed this up close working for decades on the Hill at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose membership consists of senators and representatives. It did not matter one iota if they were Democrats or Republicans, conservative, moderate or liberal — all were united in supporting freedom, human rights and democracy in Ukraine. And there were no divisions when it came to calling out Moscow for its numerous violations of international agreements, be it in Russia, Ukraine or elsewhere.

It would be a tragic abandonment of Congress’s long-standing bipartisan support for Ukraine’s freedom if one wing of one party, largely in one chamber, were to block funding for Ukraine at this critical time.

As Ukrainians are fighting not only for their own freedom and security but also ours, congressional inaction would be a profound betrayal of our national interests, the rules-based international order and the values we have long espoused.

Orest Deychakiwsky, Charles Town, W.Va.

The Washington Post (February 2, 2024)