McConnell: Russian Defeat In Ukraine In Direct U.S. Interest

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U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor regarding national security priorities:

“Vladimir Putin’s re-election campaign is employing a slogan that the Russian people – and the rest of the world – have actually heard before.

“Here’s what it is: ‘Russia’s borders do not end anywhere.’

“The map of Europe illustrates what he means by this in the starkest possible terms.

“A brazen war of conquest is headed toward its eleventh year. Two years of Russia’s brutal escalation in Ukraine have subjected a sovereign nation to horrific losses and heinous war crimes.

“Since well before Russian troops made their first run toward Kyiv in February 2022, I’ve been pushing for the decisive capabilities Ukraine needed to defend itself.

“And I’ve held President Biden to account for not doing more sooner to give our friends a decisive edge against Putin’s aggression, and for not investing more seriously in rebuilding America’s military strength.

“But I’ve never been under any delusion about why America was backing Ukraine’s fight. This has never been about charity. It’s not about virtue signaling or abstract principles of international relations.

“This is about cold, hard, American interests.

“It is in the United States’ direct interest for authoritarians not to feel free to redraw maps by force.

“It’s in our interest to help degrade the military of a major adversary without committing American lives to the effort.

“It’s in our interest to help blunt aggressive behavior before it triggers wider conflict and directly threatens our closest allies and trading partners.

“We cannot pretend that America is inoculated against the consequences of war in Europe. We can’t afford to harbor the notion that leaving Russian aggression unchecked would somehow enhance America’s posture in strategic competition with China.

“Accelerating Russian defeat in Europe is precisely what will help ensure we don’t wind up dealing with simultaneous aggression from adversaries in Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

“Even as a global superpower, this is not a burden America should resign to bear alone. And fortunately, we don’t have to.

“Over the past two years, our European allies have taken a more serious, sober accounting of the requirements of collective defense.

“They’re now fast overtaking America’s share of overall security assistance to Ukraine. And we already trail the contributions of 13 allies, measured as a share of GDP.

“This is certainly good news – for collective defense, and for the urgent demands that press upon American strength.

“The United Kingdom, for example, just pledged to invest more than $3 billion in Ukraine’s fight over the next two years.

“This is on top of the tremendous leadership Great Britain has displayed since the earliest days of Putin’s escalation.

“Germany created a hundred-billion-euro special defense fund, enacted major military reforms, and continues to make progress toward NATO’s 2% defense spending target.

“Denmark is expanding its domestic industrial base and participating alongside U.S. forces in coalition operations in the Red Sea.

“Smaller frontline allies like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are continuing to make massive relative commitments to the cause. Estonia has pledged $1.3 billion to Ukraine over the next four years.

“Just today, even the new right-leaning government of Slovakia expressed clear support for the Ukrainian cause in a visit to Ukraine.

“And more good news came yesterday – NATO is one step closer to admitting another strong and capable member to the trans-Atlantic alliance.

“I’m glad the Turkish Parliament voted to ratify Sweden’s accession. Unfortunately, this step took far too long and created unnecessary friction within the alliance.

“Sweden will bring major defense and technological capabilities into NATO on Day One. The Swedes are increasing their defense budget and expanding their defense industrial capacity.

“This is not just good for NATO. Sweden’s entry into NATO, just like Finland before her, is in our national interest.

“I know colleagues on both sides of the aisle share my expectation that Hungary – the final remaining ally to approve Sweden’s accession – will act soon to finish the job. Washington is watching.

“These are promising developments. Allies are taking important steps toward greater burden-sharing.

“But we cannot mistakenly conclude from this progress that there is also declining demand for American leadership.

“Quite the opposite.

“The West’s efforts to deter and defend against our adversaries – in Europe, in the Middle East, and in the Indo-Pacific – still require an engaged America.

“They require that we continue to invest heavily in new capabilities for our own armed forces, and in greater defense industrial capacity to meet soaring demand and sustain long-term competition.

“This is what national security supplemental legislation would do: invest tens of billions of dollars right here at home, and continue to bring new, cutting-edge capabilities – made in America by American workers – into our arsenal.

“The Senate will very soon have a chance to restore our sovereignty at the southern border. To invest in our strategic competition with China. And to rebuild our credibility in the eyes of allies and adversaries alike.”


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