KLOBUCHAR: “This is a democracy, we’re proud it’s a democracy. And we stand with Ukraine.”
KLOBUCHAR: “This is something closely followed in America…because we support democracy, but it also hits home.”
WATCH FULL PRESS CONFERENCE HERE
WASHINGTON – At a press conference today in Ukraine, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) emphasized the United States’ strong bipartisan commitment to Ukraine as it continues to face Russian aggression, noting, “This is a democracy, we’re proud it’s a democracy. And we stand with Ukraine.”
Klobuchar also highlighted strong engagement on this conflict in the United States, including in Minnesota’s Ukrainian-American community. “I have a huge Ukrainian-American population in my state, and I remember after my last trip I ended up doing a town hall meeting in the Ukrainian Hall, and hundreds and hundreds of people showed up…this is something closely followed in America…because we support democracy, but it also hits home.”
Klobuchar announced this morning that she and a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), traveled to Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy.
Klobuchar’s full remarks from the press conference can be found below. A recording of the press conference can be viewed here.
“I wanted to add that one of the last times I was here was with Senator McCain and we went to the Donbas region, something I’ll never forget, with Senator Graham. And met widows who had just lost their husbands to Russian snipers. And as we came today, I thought of all those lost, brave Ukranians, 14,000 overall, since this began. And we just felt it was really important as a bipartisan delegation to be here, to say we’re standing with Ukraine. Whether that means the assistance our country has given in large sums and continues to give, and equipment and the like. Whether that means coordinating with our allies as you saw Wendy Sherman and others and Secretary Blinken do over the last months. Or whether it means simply giving our strong moral support for the country of Ukraine. This is a democracy, we’re proud it’s a democracy. And we stand with Ukraine.”
Reporter question: Some Americans I’ve read on Twitter, they ask one question. United States is so far away from Ukraine. Ukraine is basically near Russia and Europe. Why do you care so much about Ukraine that you’re willing to risk a full breakup of diplomatic relations, Putin threatened, in case those sanctions – some of you stand for and co-authored this bill on sanctions – why are you ready for such a risky move for Ukraine? The second question is again about sanctions and weapons. Our government is advocating for their partners, not only United States but other countries like Canada, some EU countries, to provide weapons and to impose sanctions before the Russian invasion, not after. While I heard that Biden administration stands for the [inaudible] of sanctions only if Russia invades, as well as the offense of weapons.
“I know Senator Cramer’s going to say something, but I wanted to reiterate that in answer to your question, it isn’t ‘well we may be that distant.’ We’re not that distant. I have a huge Ukrainian-American population in my state, and I remember after my last trip I ended up doing a town hall meeting in the Ukrainian Hall, and hundreds and hundreds of people showed up. And then-Ambassador Yovanovitch, our U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine at the time, appeared on the screen and answered their questions. So this is something closely followed in America, for the reasons my colleagues outlined, because we support democracy, but it also hits home. And then the second piece is we’re not alone. I think Roger [Senator Wicker] was getting at that at the end. So many allies in the region, Great Britain, so many other countries that have been standing up for their own freedoms, are also helping Ukraine in every way they can.”
“I just want to conclude, one of the reasons we’re all here together, because I think you all know we don’t always agree on everything, is to make that point. This isn’t just, ‘oh hold hands, and we’re happy to be here, and we’re wearing our Ukraine buttons.’ It is send our flags. It is also to say that we stand united on moving ahead on legislation and responding if this is to come to bear.”
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