Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 22.06.2018
A United States congressional delegation will not go to Ukraine next week. Senators John Kennedy, Richard Shelby, Steve Daines, and John Hoeven will not visit Ukraine, the democratic nation that is the sole fighting defender of Western civilization from the scourge of war and invasion coming from the Russian Federation.
The US Senators will not be expressing support for the Ukrainian people in their Good Fight. They will not witness the unity of purpose that has forged the Ukrainian nation. They will not see the nobility of spirit that has galvanized Ukraine to action to not only survive but to triumph over the vicious onslaught of Muscovy barbarism.
The US Senators will not see the destruction and sorrow caused by Putin’s unprovoked war against the Ukrainian people. They will not go to the memorials to the Heaven’s Hundred of the Revolution of Dignity. They will not pay their respects at the graves of the heroes of the war of national salvation from the Russian invasion, ongoing for over four years. They will not visit the hospitals where the wounded recover and are rehabilitated. They will not meet the refugees, Ukrainians who are made homeless in their own land by foreign Russian invaders. They will not listen to Ukrainian political and civil society leaders, who could enlighten them about the horror of Putin’s War and also about the prospects for victory of good over evil.
Instead of backing Ukraine, defender of the West, the four US Senators will be appeasing Russia which is at war with the West. Urged by the US Ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman, a group of US Senators will go to Russia over the July 4 American national holiday. No one is able to say clearly why they are going to Russia. The language used by the Senators in talking about the trip is exactly what the Kremlin uses. The talk is all about “co-operation” and never about Russia’s war against Ukraine. “We think it's good for us to talk,” said Senator Richard Shelby to CNN. Senator John Kennedy told CNN that the US and Russia share “areas of common interest.” He also said that he hopes to “establish rapport between the United States Congress and the Putin administration.”
The United States has an obligation to uphold the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. This was a solemn promise given by the US in 1994 in the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances. Ukraine agreed to give up nuclear weapons, and the US, the United Kingdom, and Russia gave security assurances to Ukraine. Ukraine became a non-nuclear weapons state. Russia invaded Ukraine on 20 February 2014 and broke the promises it made under the Budapest Memorandum. The US and the UK failed to stop Putin, and broke their promises. The post-Second World War rules-based international order was shattered by Putin’s War and by Western appeasement of it.
Four Russia-appeasing US Senators will go to Russia for July 4: Kennedy, Shelby, Daines, and Hoeven. But the US Senate was not always under the influence of the Putin regime as it is today. A year and a half ago, three US Senators visited Ukraine to stand up for the US’s true strategic ally. Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Amy Klobuchar visited Ukraine at the very end of 2016 and over New Years 2017. They even visited the battlefront in Donbas where the Ukrainian armed forces defend against bombardments and assaults by the Russian armed forces. Speaking in Shyrokyne in Donbas region, on the Azov Sea and within gunshot range of the Russian invaders, Senator Graham said to Ukrainian Marines: “Your fight is our fight.”
Russia is the mortal enemy of the United States, as it is of all Western democracies. Russia is at war with Ukraine, the vanguard of the West. Four US Senators who plan to go to Russia are completely ignoring Ukraine. This is a vicious blow to the cause of freedom. The United States should be in the fight on the side of democratic Ukraine against fascist Russia. It is in the US’s strategic interest to do so and the US has obligations to Ukraine under international agreements.
To ignore Ukraine is bad enough. But to ignore Ukraine to pay court to Putin in Russia is the worst outcome imaginable. If the four US Senators go to the enemy Russia and break the embargo on high-level contact with the Putin regime, then the unity of the democratic West will be put under severe strain. In a short one and a half years, the US Senate will have transitioned from firm support for the West’s defender Ukraine to craven support for Russia which is at war with the West.
While four US Senators deceive themselves about “talking to Russia,” Russian armed forces are attacking Ukrainian defenders and civilians in Donbas and Russian occupation authorities are persecuting Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian loyalists in Crimea. Russia has been committing war crimes and violating international human rights law for over four years. But in the face of this onslaught, the resistance of the Ukrainian people is indomitable. Before the appeasing US Senators play geopolitical games in Moscow they should know this: Ukrainians will never surrender. Ukraine will never give up its land or its people. Crimea and Donbas will never be a part of Russia. Appeasing Western politicians cannot surrender to Putin that which they do not possess: they cannot give up Ukraine when Ukrainians will never give up on themselves.
Because Senators John Kennedy, Richard Shelby, Steve Daines, and John Hoeven ignore Ukraine and are ignorant about Ukraine, their mission to appease Russia will fail. Thank goodness.