U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Ukraine:
“Last week, Senate Republican colleagues and I visited our allies and partners in Europe. We both reassured them of America’s commitment to strength and leadership, but also urged them to invest and engage more in security and the trans-Atlantic alliance.
“Our allies are coming around to the realization that security assistance to Ukraine is not just helping one nation’s citizens defend their sovereignty…
“It is also degrading Russia’s ability to further threaten Europe or threaten America, and sending a powerful deterrent signal to other potential aggressors.
“From our own perspective, much of the money that’s being described as American aid to Ukraine is really being invested in our own defense-industrial base here at home. We are procuring new versions of munitions and weapons for our own military to replace often decades-old versions that we’ve sent to Ukraine.
“And, after an ill-advised ‘holiday from history’, European allies are now following America’s lead. NATO members are making historic investments in defense that will keep paying dividends long after Ukraine defeats Putin’s aggression.
“The West is priming the pump of the industrial capacity that will ensure we are prepared to meet the larger military challenges posed by systemic rivals like China.
“The recent press reports that Beijing is considering providing weapons to Russia should not come as a surprise. China has plenty of reasons to fear a Russian defeat and plenty of reasons to hope Russia gets away with forcibly seizing another country’s territory.
“Yesterday, the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony from Keith Kellogg, a former advisor to President Trump and Co-Chair of the Center for American Security at the America First Policy Initiative.
“Like the vast majority of Republican Senators, he complained the Biden Administration had been too slow in providing military assistance to Ukraine.
“He noted the best way to end the conflict was to, ‘enable Ukraine to defeat the Russian army in Ukraine.’
“And what about the claim that the West supporting Ukraine is somehow distracting us from the threats posed by the PRC?
“Here’s what he said: ‘Make no mistake: weakness against Russian aggression is weakness against the Communist-Chinese threat…Russian victory in Ukraine today almost certainly means war for Taiwan tomorrow.’
“Likewise, in Japan, senior officials have spelling out the clear link between the response to Putin and the prospects of deterring Chairman Xi.
“They’ve taken historic steps to invest more in their own defense, and during our trip last week, Prime Minister Kishida announced that Japan plans to direct $5.5 billion in assistance toward Ukraine.
“Other reports indicate that citizens of Taiwan are volunteering to fight alongside Ukrainians against Russia. The very people most threatened by the ambitions of the PRC tomorrow understand the importance of Ukraine prevailing today.
“Our friends and partners in the Middle East know the score as well.
“They’ve had to contend with Russia as an influential force in the region ever since President Obama failed to enforce his red line in Syria and Putin came rushing into that conflict. Now our partners see the same Iranian missiles and UAVs that have struck their own cities being used by Russia to attack Ukraine.
“They know Moscow will repay Tehran somehow and that a victorious Russia will be less constrained in providing advanced capabilities to Iran.
“So we’ve seen senior Israeli officials showing up in Kyiv. We’ve seen Saudi Arabia vote against Russia in the United Nations, pledge $400 million in assistance to Ukraine, and send its first official delegation to Kyiv in 30 years.
“Clearly, America’s friends all around the world know that the way we respond to today’s threats will determine our readiness to face tomorrow’s.
“They know it in Europe. They know it in the Indo-Pacific. They know it in the Middle East.
“And here at home, Republicans know that the safest America is a strong and engaged America.
“That’s why we’ll continue to push President Biden and his administration to move faster to exert our leadership, invest in our own defense, equip our friends, and keep America safe.”