- The Washington Times
Sunday, May 1, 2022

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday that Congress “will do what it takes” to ensure a Ukrainian victory over Russia as lawmakers mull a $33 billion package for additional military, economic and humanitarian aid proposed by the White House last week.

Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may feel emboldened to expand his assault to other European countries if he is not stopped in Ukraine.

“It is about the international order,” Mr. Menendez told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “If Putin can ultimately not only succeed in the Donbas but then be emboldened maybe to go further, if he strikes a country under NATO, under our treaty obligations with NATO, then we would be directly engaged.”

“Stopping Russia from getting to that point is critically of interest to us, as well as the world so that we don’t have to send our sons and daughters into battle,” he said. “And I think that that ability not to have to send our sons and daughters into battle is priceless.”

Last week, President Biden requested an additional $33.4 billion in Ukraine aid from Congress, including $20 billion in security assistance, $8.5 billion in economic assistance and $3 billion in humanitarian assistance.

The Biden administration has provided nearly $3.4 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in late February.

Mr. Putin has repeatedly warned the U.S. and other Western countries against aiding Ukraine and has accused U.S. and European leaders of waging a proxy war in Ukraine after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that a key U.S. goal in arming Ukraine is to “weaken” Russia.

Mr. Menendez rejected the criticism, though said the West has a vital interest in ensuring that Russia is unable to expand its assault to NATO and non-NATO countries near Ukraine.

“At the end of the day, yes, we don’t want to see Russia go into Moldova,” he said. “We don’t want to see Russia go into a NATO country and Poland or Lithuania or any other such country. So in that respect, I think that’s what the secretary meant.”

“We need to keep our eye on the ball,” he said. “And that is about helping Ukraine and Ukrainians ultimately be able to defeat the butcher of Moscow. And if we do that the world will be safer.”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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