September 19, 2022
The Transatlantic Task Force for Ukraine strongly urges the U.S. Congress to swiftly pass additional military and economic aid for Ukraine to help defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity and, by doing so, enhance U.S. and transatlantic security and restore the rules-based international order. On September 2nd, the Biden Administration requested nearly $11.7 billion in critically needed assistance for Ukraine that along with support from other partners will be needed as Russia’s unrelenting war continues and Ukraine’s conflict-impacted economy, critical infrastructure, and energy sector face significant challenges. The discovery of mass graves in the city of Izyum after its liberation from Russian occupation, and the overwhelming destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure perpetrated by Russia’s military there and in other Ukrainian cities, again highlight the depravity and the threats posed by Vladimir Putin and Russia.
We applaud Congress for its unflinching support for Ukraine and its unprecedented, historic bipartisan passage of the $40 billion assistance package for Ukraine signed into law on May 21. This package, along with the $13.7 billion in assistance passed in March, builds on a legacy of strong bipartisan support for Ukraine. Congressional support has been crucial to address humanitarian, economic and recovery needs and was instrumental in fundamentally transforming Ukraine’s defense forces and ability to combat Russia’s brutal aggression which stands in stark violation of international law, norms, and principles.
With the liberation by Ukraine’s armed forces of Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, the momentum has clearly shifted in Ukraine’s favor. But Ukrainians and partners of Ukraine should have no illusions that the war is over, with Putin’s forces still occupying nearly one-fifth of Ukrainian territory and continuing to wreak havoc, devastation, and atrocities.
Continued U.S. military and economic support are vital to help ensure that Ukraine defends its democracy and regains sovereignty over all its territories. As recent history shows, any territory under Russian occupation or where Russia is militarily engaged will be a human rights black hole. This was evident following Russia’s initial invasion of Crimea and parts of the Donbas in 2014, where human rights abuses were rampant. Since February 24th, the situation has only deteriorated, morphing into a genocidal campaign to eradicate the Ukrainian nation, with untold war crimes and other atrocities and the forcible mass transfer of Ukrainians, including children, to Russia. Russian aggression and Putin’s totalitarian bent have consequences for U.S. security
and economic interests and impact the entire world from increased food insecurity, to the weaponization of energy, to the erosion of democracy, including disinformation and blatant interference in elections globally.
The world continues to witness indisputable evidence of Russia’s ongoing genocidal campaign in the areas that have been liberated by Ukrainian forces just in the last few weeks, underscoring the imperative that Ukraine must prevail. No place in Ukraine is safe while it remains under Russian occupation. The United States, as the leading country of the free world, has a moral obligation to ensure that Ukraine regains control over its entire territory.
The world is in a historic moment, the importance of which must not be underestimated — a geo-political turning point with momentous implications for the security of not only Ukraine, but also the interests of the United States, the transatlantic community, and the entire global community. Swift Congressional approval to provide Ukraine with robust military, economic and humanitarian assistance must be a priority given the extraordinary stakes and threat to allies and partners. A Ukraine that prevails will help ensure a future where freedom, democracy and the rule of law represent the future, rather than tyranny and authoritarianism. It is about restoring the rules-based international order, which Russia has violated with impunity. Ukraine’s victory will be a triumph for the entire democratic civilized world and the outcome of the war will have enormous ramifications for the U.S., the transatlantic community and our collective futures. Continued resolute and unwavering support for Ukraine is consistent with both U.S. interests and deeply consistent with the democratic values that the American people cherish.
Jonathan Katz, Senior Fellow and Director, Democracy Initiatives, German Marshall Fund of the United States
Orest Deychakiwsky, former Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Helsinki Commission
Adrian Karmazyn, former Ukrainian Service Chief, Voice of America
Denys Davydenko, Head of Advocacy and International Relations, Reanimation Package of Reforms Coalition
Olga Lymar, Executive Director, Reanimation Package of Reforms Coalition
Olena Prokopenko, Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States