US must stand with Ukraine for 'long term' battle with Russia: Rep. Krishnamoorthi

US must stand with Ukraine for ‘long term’ battle with Russia: Rep. Krishnamoorthi

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., praised the fierce fight of the Ukrainian people but said the United States needs to be prepared if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government falls into Russian hands.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., praised the fierce fight of the Ukrainian people but said the United States needs to be prepared if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government falls into Russian hands.

Krishnamoorthi, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation called the SUPPORT Act that would aid Ukraine’s efforts to reclaim territory and reassert control if Russia pushes the government into exile.  

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from Illinois, questions witnesses during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. 
(Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I think this is going to be a struggle that’s not going to end in a week or a month or a couple of months, I think it might be one that’s more long term,” Krishnamoorthi said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “And we have to be there for the Ukrainians.”

Krishnamoorthi, who attends classified briefings as a member of the Intelligence Committee, said the Ukrainian people have put up a “dogged and a courageous fight” in the face of a Russian military with superior firepower and numbers. 

If Russia continues to take more territory, the United States needs to find ways to help Ukraine mount an insurgency and reassert control  – even if the government is relocated or has to go into exile, he said.

“The question is are they going to be equipped and are we going to be able to aid them sufficiently to be able to reassert control eventually,” Krishnamoorthi said.

The Illinois Democrat authored the SUPPORT Act with Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It would require plans for the U.S. to support a Ukrainian insurgency through both lethal and nonlethal assistance, as well as intelligence sharing, to help Ukraine take back Russia-controlled cities. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a joint press conference with his counterparts from Lithuania and Poland following their talks in Kyiv on Feb. 23, 2022. (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
(SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelenskyy has chosen to stay in Ukraine and resisted offers to flee, despite at least three reported assassination attempts.

“Zelenskyy has really risen to the moment in a way that nobody predicted, and he has kind of become the face of democracy and people yearning to breathe free,” Krishnamoorthi said of the Ukrainian leader. “And I think that the Russians know that. They know that he inspires so many people to fight harder and to join the resistance or join the Ukrainian military. And so they’re going to go after him.”

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Wednesday in favor of a resolution to stand with Ukraine and condemn President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. 

The U.S. has been sending security assistance to Ukraine since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea worth $3 billion but stepped up the military aid last year by sending $1 billion worth of military assistance in 2021 alone, according to a senior U.S. defense official. President Biden said he won’t send U.S. troops into Ukraine. 

Service members of the Ukrainian armed forces gather at their positions outside the settlement of Makariv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, near Zhytomyr, Ukraine March 4, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Maksim Levin)

After the invasion, the United States and its allies have slapped Russia with a series of sanctions to squeeze Russia’s economy, but they have not deterred Putin from continuing his all-out assault on Ukraine.

In addition to the lethal and nonlethal aid and the sanctions against Russia, Ukrainians will also need humanitarian help, especially for the refugees fleeing for Poland and elsewhere, Krishnamoorthi said.

“It’s going to be a huge humanitarian burden, and so I think the world community is going to come to their aid,” Krishnamoorthi said. 

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