Lawmakers urge Biden administration to increase military aid to Ukraine

Rep. Meijer, others pen letter to president
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Posted at 9:29 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 22:42:44-04

WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. and European allies announced new sanctions on Russian banks and Vladamir Putin’s daughters Wednesday, as President Joe Biden declared “major war crimes” were being discovered in Ukraine. Meanwhile, some lawmakers say the U.S. needs to do much more in response to Russia's brutal attack.

“It's good,” says U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) about new sanctions levied on Russia, but he questions why it’s taken this long to extend them.

“The thing that we've been trying to get [answers] on, and that I'm kind of blown away by is what took the six weeks,” Meijer added. “We have been asking for this since the moment the Russian military forces attacked Ukraine and I don't understand, for the life of me, why we were holding this in reserve, why we waited to see the brutality that Russian occupying forces conducted against the civilian population in areas they were occupying.”

Meijer is among a group of lawmakers urging the Biden administration to increase military aid to Ukraine.

In a bipartisan letter pennedby Meijer, Congressmen Jason Crow (D-Colorado) and Andy Kim (D-New Jersey), the group outlines three “critical areas" where further U.S. assistance is needed, listing out specific weapons, including anti-naval, anti-aircraft and long range missiles and dozens of other military hardware they believe will help Ukraine win the war. The letter was signed by more than three dozen members of Congress including Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan) and Rep. Andy Levin (D-Michigan).

“A whole slew of defensive weaponry that the Ukrainians have been asking for,” Meijer explained.

“We've been providing some but we need to make sure that we're ready to keep providing and keep helping the Ukrainians defend their country. I hope that this conflict ends tomorrow, but we cannot base our plans that this will end so quickly,” he added.

Meijer says the U.S. should do everything possible to help the ravaged country maintain their sovereignty, without becoming a direct combatant.

“We do not support the no-fly zone. We do not support the direct engagement of American forces. Putin wants more than anything for this to be a war between Russia and the U.S., between Russia and NATO. That is the war he wants and we should not give that to him.”

“But that should not stop us from providing the Ukrainians with every single piece of hardware they need to defend themselves and assure their own right to self-determination and to govern themselves, rather than having them be governed by Russian occupiers at the barrel of a gun,” Meijer added.

A few weeks ago, Congress approved $13 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine, but Meijer says Ukrainian ambassadors, intelligence officials and those on the ground are clear, more help is needed.

The White House says "the United States continues to expedite the authorization and facilitation of additional assistance to Ukraine from our Allies."