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ICYMI: Senator Shaheen Pens Opinion Editorial in the Boston Globe: U.S. Aid to Ukraine is an Investment in U.S. Security

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe over the weekend highlighting the urgent need for the United States to uphold our commitment supporting Ukraine in its fight for freedom and democracy.

A member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, Shaheen has led action in the Senate to support Ukraine in response to Putin’s barbaric war. Shaheen has led multiple bipartisan delegations to Ukraine and met with President Zelenskyy and members of his Cabinet. Shaheen leads legislation in the U.S. Senate to address a U.S. strategy toward key political regions in Europe to bolster European security and transatlantic unity. As chair of the bipartisan U.S. Senate NATO Observer Group and Chair of the SFRC subcommittee that oversees U.S. policy towards Europe, Shaheen is a leading policymaker on efforts in defense of democracies around the globe amid Putin’s efforts to destabilize the continent. Shaheen led on the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which was signed into law, and established a military lend-lease program to enhance security assistance to Ukraine.

The full op-ed is available here and below:

US aid to Ukraine is an investment in US security

What happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine

Many months ago, I met with a group of battle-hardened Ukrainian soldiers. This group of women came to Washington to make the case for continued American support for Ukraine’s fight for freedom. When I asked if they had a message they wanted relayed to those skeptical of supporting them, one of them looked at me and said, “Give us the weapons to fight the Russians so that you don’t have to.”

This message is at the core of the war in Ukraine and why Americans must not become fatigued with our ongoing support.

Vladimir Putin began his barbaric invasion in February of 2022, believing his forces would take Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in a matter of days. Ukrainians from all walks of life rushed to the frontlines to defend their homeland. Because of their bravery—and Congress’ quick mobilization to ensure Ukraine had the resources to defend itself—nearly two years later, Putin’s primary objective has failed. As Ukrainians enter into a new phase of the war by waging a tough winter offensive and enduring relentless missile attacks, the world is watching what the United States does next.

I understand that to many Americans this probably seems like a far-off war. But I want to make one thing clear: what happens in Ukraine does not stay in Ukraine. It impacts the day-to-day lives of all Americans, including those of us here in New England.

Putin’s illegal invasion is directly targeting American consumers. His obstruction of Ukraine’s grain exports in the Black Sea has threatened a global food security crisis and caused prices to rise around the world and throughout New England. American support, in coordination with our Allies, has helped ensure that Ukraine could safely restart exports, helping feed the world and bringing down food costs here in the United States.

When the war began, we saw a spike in gas prices and, once again in coordination with our Western partners, we instituted a price cap on Russian oil and gas to stabilize prices for Americans who had been forced to pay more at the pump.

These are just a couple of ways Americans are feeling the economic impact of the war. What’s clear is that if we fail to stop Putin in Ukraine, the economic costs on Americans will be far more profound—not only for our economy and the cost of food and gas, but for our collective security. If Ukraine falls, Putin won’t stop there. The sovereignty of other partners and allies will be at risk. This concern isn’t hyperbolic; it’s a threat made by the Kremlin regularly. It could lead to an attack on a NATO Ally—many of which share a border with both Russia and Ukraine—which would draw the United States into direct conflict with Russian forces. I don’t want to see another generation of young Americans sent off to fight in a foreign war because we remained shortsighted and failed to meet the moment.

Remarkably, since Russia's invasion began, the United States and our allies have upheld our commitment to Ukraine’s defense by providing them with security, humanitarian and economic assistance to prevent economic collapse. Our NATO Allies and other global partners have stepped up to make significant commitments and increases to their defense spending to support Ukraine for the long haul. We must ensure that level of commitment continues.

Now is the time to renew the strong bipartisan commitment we made nearly two years ago by passing urgently needed aid for Ukraine. I’ve been proud to hear so many of my colleagues—Republicans and Democrats—come together and affirm that we must get this done. Congressional leaders have been working diligently on a compromise that we will hopefully see the details of in the coming days.

I want to be clear about what this aid entails: America’s targeted assistance to Ukraine is not charity, nor is it a blank check. It is a strategic investment with oversight that bolsters U.S. deterrence, protects democracies across Europe and strengthens the U.S. industrial base – including in New Hampshire.

Since the start of the war, New England manufacturers have stepped up to meet increased demand to expand production lines, strengthen the economy and create good-paying American jobs. New Hampshire has already received more than $200 million from supplemental funding that not only ensures our military can backfill its stocks but helps maintain U.S. military readiness in the long-term.

In short, while the United States gives money and weapons, Ukraine gives lives.

If we let autocrats like Putin dictate the futures of sovereign countries, our world will change completely. The global economy will suffer, respect for human rights and democratic values will deteriorate and dictators everywhere—like Xi in China and Khamenei in Iran—will think they, too, can have free reign over independent nations.

Late last year, I again met with brave Ukrainian soldiers. One of them, Andriana, suffered a catastrophic injury that left her temporarily paralyzed. That didn’t stop her unrelenting determination to rejoin her unit on the frontlines.

She reminded me of Ukraine’s motto: Freedom or Death. It doesn’t sound too different from New Hampshire’s motto: Live Free or Die. It’s a reminder that our friends in Ukraine aren’t so different from us, and their fight for life and freedom is our fight, too.

Democratic US Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee and is chair of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation.