On Friday, ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman sharply criticized the roughly two and a half dozen Republican Senators who voted this week against a government spending package that included billions of dollars in new military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Despite the Senators’ opposition, the plan passed, but not without these Republicans showing that they were apparently willing to leave Ukrainians to suffer through the ongoing Russian invasion of their country without this additional critical assistance. No matter Republicans’ abandonment of the cause, the aid has been approved by both chambers of Congress and was slated to be signed into law by President Joe Biden. Vindman was responding to a post from the veterans advocacy group VoteVets, which listed Republican Senators who voted against the aid and said: “We see you, GOP, and we’ll remember in November.” Vindman pointedly added:
‘[They] are way out of step with the American public who overwhelmingly supports providing more aid for Ukraine.’
— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) March 11, 2022
A YouGov survey released last month — before Russia’s full-fledged invasion started — found that, although there were substantial levels of uncertainty among Americans regarding policies that could help Ukraine against Russian aggression, more Americans favored the idea of sending financial aid to Ukraine than opposed it. Overall, 42 percent of respondents found the prospect of financial aid for Ukraine to be a positive idea, while 24 percent characterized it as a bad one, and 34 percent of respondents said that they were unsure. By a full 11 percent, Democrats led Republicans in support of financial assistance for Ukraine — 53 percent of Democrats favored it, while only 42 percent of Republicans did. Respondents were more evenly split on sending weapons to Ukraine — overall, 38 percent characterized it as a good idea, 31 percent said they were unsure, and 31 percent indicated they found it to be a bad idea. As Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) explained the newly approved billions in aid, “We’re giving the Ukrainians billions for food, medicine, shelter, and support for the over two million refugees who have had to leave Ukraine, as well as funding for weapons transfers like Javelins and Stingers.”
Had a substantive conversation with @POTUS. Gave him the assessment of the situation on the battlefield, informed about the crimes of Russia against the civilian population. We agreed on further steps to support the defense of Ukraine and increase sanctions against Russia.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 11, 2022
The U.S. and its allies, meanwhile, have continued announcing economic counter-measures undercutting Putin’s regime. Now, the United States is ending the most favored nation status that Russia has held within the country, a designation that provided for relatively free trade between Russia and the United States. Biden’s administration is also expanding the scope of Russian imports that are banned from the U.S.; now, seafood, alcohol, and diamonds are included among the affected Russian products. Previously, the Biden administration rolled out a ban on Russian energy imports. Biden directly spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday, to whom Biden “highlighted how the United States is continuing to surge security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine” and provided information about “the actions the United States is taking today in coordination with the G7 and the EU to further raise the costs on Russia,” according to the White House. (Those actions include the aforementioned trade status changes.)
The American people are united.
The world is united.
We stand with the people of Ukraine.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 11, 2022