Anchorage Daily News: In Kyiv visit, Sen. Murkowski calls for bipartisan backing of Ukraine

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, traveling to Kyiv with other senators to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, called for united support of the Ukrainian war effort.

 Though Murkowski’s trip is one of several that members of Congress have taken to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, it comes as some Republicans’ support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine has declined. Prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have said they oppose U.S. support for Ukraine.

 Speaking to reporters after meeting with Zelenskyy, Murkowski, a Republican, urged bipartisan support for Ukraine. She was joined on the trip by Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Kelly of Arizona as well as country singer Brad Paisley, who’s one of several ambassadors for Ukraine’s UNITED24 wartime fundraising effort.

 “I don’t think we should differentiate between Republican and Democrat,” Murkowski said. “We need to demonstrate that the American people, the American people are behind Ukraine. And that needs to be our priority.”

 “This cannot be a partisan split. This cannot be a partisan effort. This needs to be the United States standing with Ukraine every step of the way,” she said. “And so part of our job, whether it is to just speak to those within our respective parties, different countries, we need to make sure that the support does not waver and part of that is in the communication.”

 During the trip, the delegation from the U.S. discussed military readiness, energy security, accountability of foreign assistance and rebuilding efforts with Ukrainian leaders, Manchin’s office said in a statement. Murkowski, the former chair of the Senate Energy Committee, noted that the trip gave her an opportunity to better understand how Russia is targeting energy and infrastructure assets.

 The rest of Alaska’s congressional delegation has supported Ukraine’s war efforts, with Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan recently advocating for the White House to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

 Some Republican lawmakers, though, including House Oversight and Accountability Chair James Comer, R-Ky., have also called for greater supervision of U.S. aid to Ukraine.

 Murkowski said that the senators were visiting Ukraine “somewhat in an oversight role” and that the trip gave her a chance to better understand how U.S. aid has supported the war effort.

 “The United States has contributed significantly to the effort on behalf of the people of Ukraine, really, on behalf of democracy,” Murkowski said. “The United States’ commitment is an investment. It’s an investment in the democracy of the free world.”

 Manchin said the congressional delegation reviewed how U.S. equipment and money has been used in Ukraine and is “very satisfied that they have been doing a tremendously stellar job.”

 Murkowski said she plans to convey to her fellow members of Congress that “what we have put forward into this fight to support Ukraine is worth every penny.”

 Classified leaked Pentagon documents revealed this week that Ukraine lacks necessary troops, ammunition and equipment to take back Russian-occupied lands. Manchin said the group discussed the leaks with Zelenskyy.

 “Basically, we’re concerned. Everyone is concerned about that,” Manchin said. “And it’s a challenge that we have to overcome, and our support is unwavering, and as they have to make their adjustments, we’re going to make sure that we’re able to adjust with them.”

By:  Riley Rogerson
Source: Anchorage Daily News