GOP lawmakers visit Ukraine
Montana Sen. Steve Daines (R) and Ukrainian-American Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) this week became the first American lawmakers to travel to Ukraine in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, with Daines concluding after their visit that there is “indisputable evidence of war crimes” in the country.
The pair spoke with Ukrainian officials on the ground and traveled to various sites of destruction from the war.
Daines and Spartz traveled from Ukrainian capital Kyiv to Bucha, a city near Kyiv that became a site of wreckage and death during its occupation by Russian forces.
“There is indisputable evidence of Putin’s war crimes everywhere—the images of shallow mass graves filled with civilians, women and children are heart wrenching,” Daines said in a statement.
“America and the world need to know about Putin’s atrocities against the innocent people of Ukraine now, not after time has passed and the aftermath of evil and bloodshed have been cleaned up. The sooner we can provide Ukraine with the lethal aid they need to win this war, the sooner we will end the war crimes…I’m proud to help show that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom,” he continued.
Spartz, the first American congressperson to have been born in Ukraine, told The New York Times that it was “important to show our support, to show we care” about the tragedies in Ukraine.
Bucha was previously visited by European officials after Russian forces withdrew from the area.
The U.S. lawmakers witnessed dead bodies being removed from a communal grave in the city as it was excavated after the violence, per the Times.
“Nothing can substitute for actually being here, seeing it first-hand, spending time with the people and leaders here in Ukraine who have been horribly affected by this war,” Daines told the Times at the site of an apartment building that collapsed on its residents in Borodyanka.
Ukrainian officials have said the collapse of the building killed at least 21 people. Daines found a child’s wooden car in the wreckage, according to the newspaper.
Both lawmakers were invited to the country by the Ukrainian government while Daines was traveling in Eastern Europe.
“I think we should be providing the lethal aid that they need to win this war,” Daines told the Times. “The humanitarian crisis will not end until the war ends. And the war will not end until the Ukrainians win.”
Spartz and Daines both said that both Democrats and Republicans should urge the Biden administration to provide weapons to Ukraine and ship them out quickly, the newspaper reported.
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