America is on the verge of losing a second democratic partner to the iron fist of authoritarianism — just six months after the fall of Kabul. The strong resolve and resistance of the Ukrainian people have thus far withstood the onslaught of Vladimir Putin’s armed battalions.
The world is watching in horror as Putin is once again showcasing the characteristics of his Soviet KGB past, unleashing a massive war on Ukraine and its territorial integrity. It’ll also be the second time Biden has presided over an invasion into Ukraine’s sovereignty where we will look back in the history books and wonder — why didn’t we do more to prevent war?
Last December, I had the opportunity to visit Ukraine on a bipartisan Congressional delegation to meet with Ukrainian military leaders, U.S. military advisers, and U.S. embassy officials to further understand the then-looming Russian invasion.
Republicans and Democrats stated publicly that U.S. lethal aid to Ukraine was moving too slow and President Biden’s refusal to implement sanctions wasn’t doing anything to deter Putin’s military amassment along the border. The die was cast.
Now in the early days of Russia’s unjust war against Ukraine, I’ve been amazed and heartened by Ukrainian people’s courage in their efforts to fight for every inch of their land. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has demonstrated to the world he is already a 21st century Winston Churchill by channeling “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
Whether Ukraine’s forces can withstand Russia’s sheer military numbers remains to be seen, but there are three key components that will lead to a successful Ukrainian resistance: the will to fight, a sanctuary, and arms and other supplies for guerrilla warfare.
President Biden must make clear that the United States will continue to stand with the freedom-loving Ukrainian people should their country be overtaken by Russian forces not just with words but bullets. Just as we supported the Afghan people in their fight against Soviet invaders in the 1980s, we should continue to support Ukrainian resistance. They have demonstrated the will to fight.
Moral is already low for Russian soldiers as they continue to take massive casualties — far greater than Ukraine.
The Russian military is filled with young, inexperienced conscripts who are fighting for an army they did not volunteer for. They have spent the past few months living in frigid conditions and now find themselves in a country they are not welcomed in. Their inexperience, combined with poor logistics and stiff Ukrainian resistance, have caused Putin’s gambit to bog down.
Seeing the rising casualties, the effects on the Russian economy, and realization of the pointlessness of the operation, thousands of Russian people have taken to the streets to protest this attack on Ukraine. Russian state security agents have ruthlessly cracked down on these public demonstrations, taking them into custody. But these brave Russians continue to gather and protest and threaten Putin’s grip on power.
Three decades ago, Poland and Romania broke through the iron curtain, liberating themselves from the Soviet Union’s oppression. Just as the United States and NATO stood in solidarity for their yearnings for independence, Poland and Romania are in a perfect position to do the same for Ukraine, as Putin tries to choke them off with an iron first. Both countries should serve as a sanctuary for Ukraine’s guerrilla war.
We must unite our NATO and other European partners around the policy of continuing to support Ukraine’s defenders. We must continue the flow of food, medical supplies, small armaments, stinger missiles, night vision, secure communications, body armor, and deployable radar systems to stall Russian armor in the cities and cut off their supply lines.
Ukraine has shown the world freedom from the evils of authoritarianism is worth fighting for. As you watch ordinary citizens attacks tanks with Molotov cocktails, they’ve shown the world they will die for their homeland. Insurgencies can last for years, and the world must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine for the long haul.
Michael Waltz represents Florida’s 6th Congressional District. He is a member of the Armed Services Committee, a Green Beret veteran of the war on terror in Afghanistan, a former White House counterterrorism policy adviser and author of the book “Warrior Diplomat: A Green Beret’s Battles from Washington to Afghanistan.”
March 2, 2022 at 2:01 pm
Right on! PUTIN is an international criminal and hould face charges before an international tribunal!
March 4, 2022 at 1:42 am
If only the establishment rinos cared enough about our OWN BORDER… VOTE STRAIGHT MAGA. OH just an FYI, Ukraine is corrupt as ever and Zalenski is giving zero off ramps to Put in so he can save his people but instead leading them blindly down a road he will NOT be traveling on… the Wests Elites have propped up his regime… sound familiar??
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