EU Amb. to US: Russia trying to wipe Ukraine off the map, wants to destroy US and European freedom
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - February 24th marks one year since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
President Biden is traveling to Poland ahead of the anniversary. He’ll meet with regional leaders and rally support for Ukraine as it continues to fight for its freedom.
White House Correspondent Jon Decker met with E.U. Ambassador to the U.S. Stavros Lambrinidis. He asked the ambassador about Biden’s upcoming trip.
Jon Decker, White House Correspondent
Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the US, thanks for joining us.
Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Ambassador to the US
Thanks for having me.
President Biden’s visit to Poland, a two-day visit. Do you see this visit as primarily symbolic?
Well, it is. There’s certainly a symbolism because he’s going on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s aggression. And he’s going to a country that is a logistical hub for all the military and humanitarian aid. But there’s no symbolism involved in the hardcore aid we’re giving to the Ukrainians to ensure that they can push back on Russia as they have the past year. That is real.
What do our European allies, what does the EU hope to hear from President Biden during this two day visit?
Nothing more than a continued American commitment to work with us, leading a world coalition to stop Russia from winning because frankly, I have to tell you this, Russia is not simply trying to wipe Ukraine off the map. We know he wants to do that. It is fundamentally trying to break the will of the West. It hates us. It is trying to destroy us and our freedom. And I mean American freedom of European freedom.
We of course, have a divided Congress now in 2023. Does that concern you that it’s going to be a little bit more difficult, maybe a lot more difficult, to move those aid packages forward out of Congress and getting them to President Biden’s desk?
I’ve spoken to many, many members of Congress, and I assure you that I have gotten no reason to be concerned about the bipartisan support of this Congress for Ukraine.
I understand people may be looking at this a year later and saying, oh, I’m tired of listening about Ukraine, it’s a bad story, I want to go ahead. And I assure you that’s exactly what Putin is betting on, that we will show weakness and will get tired. He’s convinced we will and the fact of the matter is that in fact there’s no safe distance. I don’t care if the war is happening how many thousands of miles away from the U.S., there’s no safe distance when an autocrat sitting with nuclear weapons is convinced that he can bend the will of our leaders and our people to his own through force.
That is a national security threat for Americans and Europeans, and that’s why I believe we have been so united on a bipartisan basis to ensure that Putin does not win.
$110 billion in military, financial humanitarian aid has flowed from the US to help Ukraine. What’s the level of financial commitment that the EU has provided since that time?
We have given $73 billion to Ukraine in military support in financial support, massive financial support, and we just announced a new package of $18 billion for 2023. $3 billion has already been given.
People sometimes make the mistake of separating military from economic support. They think they’re different things. Really? Just go to a country that is fighting for survival, where it’s men and women on the front lines dying, but their families are back home somewhere. Those families may suddenly not have electricity for their houses, or to feed themselves in the winter. That is a country that can collapse because the fighting spirit collapses if you feel that your people back home in your town are about to be extinguished economically. Economic aid is as important as military aid to win this war, and we are the front lines doing this. But we Europeans by definition have to do much more.
Ambassador, thank you so much.
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