Get the Facts: Ukraine

As Chairman, and now Ranking Member, of the Europe Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to meet with many European leaders.  In particular, I have taken a great deal of interest in the struggling democracies that were once under the subjugation of the former Soviet Union. I use the term “struggling,” because they all find it very difficult to shed the legacy of corruption that was endemic in the Soviet Union, and now Russia is doing everything it can to destabilize these fledgling democracies.   

Ukraine is one of those democracies that has found it very difficult to root out corruption. But what is also common among these nations, is that their people hunger for freedom, prosperity, and an end to corruption. They vote for leaders who run on anti-corruption platforms, but once in office find it almost impossible to make good on their election promises. Again, it’s hard to conquer corruption that is endemic throughout a society.

The election of President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine is a perfect example. Here is an excellent article that describes his unusual path from comedic entertainer to President of Ukraine.  

I had the privilege of attending his inauguration and meeting with him that day and on other occasions.  Here is a photo of me shaking his hand immediately following his inauguration.

I always viewed him as a highly intelligent person, totally dedicated to fulfilling his pledge to the Ukrainian people to not only fight corruption, but to defeat it. He is being undermined by Vladimir Putin, who had illegally annexed Crimea and invaded Eastern Ukraine prior to Zelensky becoming president.  

He has now emerged as an iconic leader with tremendous courage as he rallies Ukrainians to defend their country and inspires a global coalition to provide assistance. Ukraine faces a better equipped Russian military, but the Ukrainians are fighting for their families and freedom, whereas, Russian soldiers are fighting for a corrupt Russian kleptocracy. 

It is heartening to see bipartisan support for the brave Ukrainians, but we should not forget the role Democrats have played in weakening America and tempting Putin to take advantage of that weakness. The embarrassing and dangerous surrender in Afghanistan emboldened our adversaries but so has the division that Democrats have sown throughout our society.   

In particular, do not forget how Democrats used Ukraine as a pawn in their impeachment debacle. Lt. Col. Alex Vindman, Adam Schiff, and Nancy Pelosi should reflect on how their partisan actions not only weakened America, but also weakened Ukraine and made it more vulnerable to Putin’s aggression.

Those same Democrats are now hurling false attacks and engaging in the politics of personal destruction in their scorched earth campaign to gain Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate seat. They have already outspent me by $13 million to $2 million. Any financial support you are willing to offer to help me level the playing field will be highly appreciated. Click here to contribute.

Fighting for freedom,

Ron Johnson