U.S. Rep. Jason Crow advocates for more weapons to help Ukrainians in their fight against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t ask the U.S. congressional delegation for anything the U.S. can’t provide, including a no-fly zone or troops on the ground, Rep. Jason Crow said of their meeting.

“We cannot afford a NATO conflict against Russia and a direct U.S. involvement, but short of those two things — short of a no fly zone and troops on the ground — we can do pretty much everything else. And that is continue to provide tactical strategic intelligence to the Ukrainians, continue to provide training and most of the weapons systems that they’re asking for,” Crow said.

The Centennial Democrat told reporters Wednesday that his trip last week to Kyiv with the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other congressional delegates was not an easy journey, and he called the security situation “very, very erratic,” noting that there were strikes shortly before the trip and significant strikes at rail lines in western Ukraine and Lviv shortly after.

“I’m of the view that global leadership and U.S. leadership always entail some risk. If you want to be a leader, particularly in very difficult national security issues, and if we’re going to step up and stand shoulder to shoulder with people fighting for their survival, there’s always risk to that,” he said.

The city looked far different than when Crow last visited Kyiv in December — streets were deserted, there was a constant threat of air and missile strikes, checkpoints at every intersection and anti-tank devices, and roads blocked by concrete barricades. Crow said it was reminiscent of his time in Iraq in the green zone.

Crow made clear that while this is Ukraine’s war, the U.S. has a vested interest in helping support Ukrainians in their fights against Russia by providing them with weapons, intelligence and other resources, as well as helping with humanitarian issues and sanctioning Russia.

“We are supporting it because we have incredible interests from a national security perspective, from a humanitarian rights perspective, from a refugee perspective. It is truly Vladimir Putin in Russia trying to set a new precedent and that precedent is if you are a nuclear-armed power, you can take by force your smaller, weaker neighbors, and nobody can stop you,” Crow said. “That is not a precedent that I’m willing to let be established and nor should we, I think, as a nation.”

Crow, a veteran and member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, is advocating for increased weapon support to Ukraine, including fighter jets, advanced drones, long-range multiple launch rocket systems, anti-ship missiles and conventional munitions and weapons. He also said the U.S. needs to ensure it’s providing the aid needed to Poland, which has taken in Ukrainian refugees who will need medical, educational and financial support.

From his conversation with the Ukrainian president and hearing what’s happening to civilians such as the systematic rape of Ukrainian girls, food blockades, missile attacks on maternity words and targeted civilian bombs, Crow said it’s clear that the way to stop Putin is on the field. Congressional members learned the battle is changing, however, moving to the south and east of Ukraine, to a battle of forces fighting over long distances, requiring different kinds of support.

“The message that we made very clear to President Zelenskyy and Ukrainians was the United States is going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you,” Crow said. “We are not going to stop supporting you, that we are in this for the long haul to make sure that you can be victorious on the field of battle and in this terrible crime being committed against Ukrainian people and the rest of the world as well.”

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