Senator says US moral leadership on the line with Russia-Ukraine war
Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) said the United States must “step up” its role in stopping Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine or risk undermining its moral leadership on the world stage.
“If this continues on, I believe we’re going to see our role as a leader in the world, as a moral leader in the world, start to be questioned, and that only emboldens thugs, tyrants like Putin and others, our adversaries that we face,” Fischer said Wednesday while appearing on The Hill’s A Connected & Sustainable Society event.
“These are very real threats, and we need to take them seriously and make wise decisions at this point in time,” she added.
Fischer, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was among the lawmakers who watched Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s video address to Congress Wednesday.
Zelensky again called for the implementation of a no-fly zone, which the Biden administration has so far rejected, along with more arms as its fight against Russia’s invading troops nears the end of its third week.
On Tuesday, President Biden signed a government spending bill that includes $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine. And on Wednesday, he announced new military assistance for Ukraine that will include anti-aircraft defenses, drones and other weaponry.
Biden announced $800 million in new assistance for Ukraine, which, paired with $200 million authorized over the weekend, brings the total new aid for the country to $1 billion over the past week.
Apart from the no-fly zone, the Biden administration also declined a plan put forward by Poland to supply MiG fighter jets to Ukraine, with the U.S. backfilling Poland’s military with more modern aircraft.
Biden has been under increasing pressure on both fronts, but his administration says such measures could be seen by Putin as an act of war and thus escalate the conflict into a wider war between nuclear powers.
Fischer said she believes there is more the U.S. could be doing without risking escalation with Russia.
“We have a number of resources at our fingertips that we can offer Ukraine that I do not believe would be an escalatory action on our part and that should have happened earlier, but we are where we are right now,” she said.
Fischer has previously called for the use of “any and all available options” to support Zelensky, including sending more sophisticated anti-aircraft systems to combat Russian bombings, along with other counter-drone and anti-tank weapons, KLIN reported.
The Nebraska Republican added Wednesday that boosting support for Ukraine has been a rare area of bipartisan agreement but said the time for action was now.
“It’s obviously tough decisions that have to be made here, but if we do not make the tough decisions now, it doesn’t lessen them for the future. It makes them harder to be able to make in the future,” she said.