WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered the following remarks at a hearing on the “U.S. National Security Interests in Ukraine” and urged Congress to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine along with Israel, the Indo-Pacific, and other priorities.
“Helping Ukraine strengthens America’s credibility with our allies,” said Chair Cardin. “It shows our partners we are reliable to stand by their side when times get tough, and it puts the United States on the right side of history—defending the liberty and sovereignty of Ukraine in the face of brutal, unprovoked Russian aggression.”
A copy of the Chair’s remarks, as delivered, have been provided below.
Although the headlines may be focused elsewhere, brave, determined Ukrainians are still battling to defend their homeland against Russian troops. They're fighting not only for their country, but on the front lines against one of the world's most dangerous aggressors. On this side of those headlines, the United States and Europe are standing with Ukraine. On the other side is a network of American adversaries working to undermine the ideals of rules based international order.
Two of the most dangerous and brutal dictatorships in the world, Iran and North Korea, have joined forces with Putin to support Russia's war efforts—Iran by building factories in Russia to pump out new drones; North Korea by sending munitions to help Putin rearm his forces. At its core, this is a war of ideals. Ukraine is fighting for freedom and the right to choose their own destiny through democratically elected institutions.
Russia is not only fighting to erase Ukraine’s nation as we know it. If Putin succeeds, we’ll be turning back the clock on international law around the world. The stakes could not be higher. With time of the essence. I want to thank all of our witnesses for appearing before us today. I know that each of you and your teams are doing incredible work in the face of very challenging circumstances.
I hope this hearing provides a chance to talk about why Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine remains an urgent and dangerous threat to the United States’ security interests, why the partnership between the United States and Ukraine is so critical, and why the Senate must pass supplemental funding for Ukraine along with Israel, Taiwan, and other priorities. This supplemental funding will strengthen governance and anti-corruption systems. It will improve the resilience of our economies and our energy supply. It will support efforts to come out on the other side of this war ready for Ukraine to join EU and also NATO.
But this investment in Ukraine goes far beyond its borders. By degrading Russia's military capabilities, we are also degrading the capabilities of those who Russia works with, like Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.
We see these actors in concert, not in isolation, which is why we need to consider the whole supplemental package. In short, providing this funding is not a case of assistance or charity. Without any American troops on the ground, Ukraine fighters have already exposed Russia's weaknesses and its failures. Continued funding is vitally important for our partners, for our allies, and for reaffirming America’s leadership.
Moreover, the Biden Administration has been very careful with the American taxpayer dollars we have invested thus far in Ukraine. U.S. personnel on the ground in Ukraine are focused on oversight, including three inspector generals. Last week, Ambassador Brink told Fox News that no American provided assistance, including security assistance, humanitarian assistance, or direct budgetary support has been used for anything other than its intended purpose.
Finally, helping Ukraine strengthens America’s credibility with our allies. It shows our partners we are reliable to stand by their side when times get tough, and it puts the United States on the right side of history—defending the liberty and sovereignty of Ukraine in the face of brutal, unprovoked Russian aggression. So to our witnesses, I hope you will tell us your thoughts on the importance of passing a supplemental funding request, the urgency of passing that, and the importance of the United States security interest. I am optimistic we're going to pass the supplemental, but I would like to hear what you think the effects of a delay would be. I look forward to your testimony, and that let me turn it over to my friend and my colleague, Senator Risch.