In a move that echoes and recalls scenes of the late John McCain visiting the Maidan protests over a half-decade ago which eventually overthrew the prior elected Russia-friendly Ukrainian government, a large group of senators traveled to Kiev this week in order to show support and solidarity with Ukraine's leaders amid the ongoing showdown with Russia, which has amassed troops near the border.
"A bipartisan group of senators is traveling to Ukraine this week to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials amid escalating tensions between Kyiv and Moscow," The Hill confirms Monday. "Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced the trip on Monday. They said they are traveling to Ukraine and holding discussions "to reaffirm the U.S.’ commitment to Ukraine, which continues to face an increasingly belligerent Russia."
Years after Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian soldiers still stand guard, protecting their homeland. In 2016 I traveled to Ukraine with Senators McCain & Graham to reaffirm our support for their sovereignty. Now I am back to show America's steadfast commitment. pic.twitter.com/anhCPjWftn— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) January 17, 2022
The senators met with President Zelensky and other officials where they underscored that Washington will stand with Ukraine, especially in the event of any Russian military offensive; however, it's remained unclear whether the Biden administration would go so far as to send US troops - or if the US response would stay at the level of sanctions. The delegation said it was "proud" of this "important trip to Ukraine" which "delivers a clear message".
The Senators understored that they stand with Ukraine while the larger superpower of Russia continues to "threaten" its sovereignty...
"Ukraine continues to defend its territorial integrity against an increasingly aggressive Russia, while also striving to enact critical domestic reforms to solidify its democracy – it is more important than ever that the U.S. support Ukraine in its efforts,” Portman said in a statement.
"I look forward to reaffirming this commitment during our upcoming discussions with senior Ukrainian officials," he added.
And Sen. Cramer had this to say: "Russia continues to challenge Ukraine’s sovereignty, democratic values, and way of life. This is unacceptable and we must reaffirm our commitment to the Ukrainians in the face of this aggression."
And further: "Our bipartisan delegation demonstrates to Vladimir Putin the United States’ resolve and sends the message we stand with Ukraine."
The senators are also meeting right now with Ukraine’s President Zelensky https://t.co/mNCIiELDbk— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) January 17, 2022
Just days ago the Biden administration went so far as to accuse Russia of planning a "false flag" operation in order to justify an incursion into Ukraine. A Friday Bloomberg story said, "The Biden administration believes Russian actors are preparing potential sabotage operations against their own forces and fabricating provocations in social media to justify an invasion into Ukraine, according to a U.S. official." The claims based unnamed sources first appeared in CNN.