U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Monday joined U.S. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., in a meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The visit came as part of their bipartisan Congressional Delegation (CODEL) to Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a vital U.S. partner who is standing resolute in the face of Vladimir Putin’s shameful and illegal aggression,” Wicker said. “I appreciated the opportunity to meet with President Zelenskyy to express our strong and united support for Ukraine. It is imperative that the United States stay strong in the face of Russian aggression and stand by our friends who are fighting for freedom.”
During their meeting, the senators expressed strong solidarity with Ukraine in the face of increased Russian aggression, including further military buildup on the Ukraine and Russia border. The senators also discussed the ongoing conflict in Donbas and purported annexation of Crimea.
The senators expressed their deep concern over the buildup of Russia's forces in and around Ukraine, and pledged to continue to support funding and material support for Ukraine's defense in the U.S. Senate. Their discussions addressed further needs Ukraine has for assistance to counter the growing Russian threat. The senators also discussed the need for Ukraine to continue its democratic reforms in order to position the country for potential future membership in NATO.
The senators also discussed increased funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative that recently passed Congress as part of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The program will help train, equip, and provide support for the Ukrainian government and armed forces in their effort to defend their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity against Russian aggression.