tv U.S. Senate Sen. Cornyn on Ukraine CSPAN May 18, 2022 9:12am-9:29am EDT
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in buffalo. >> mr. president, i'd ask for unanimously consent to speak up to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled vote. >> without objection. >> thank you, madam president. well, as has been reported in the news, despite our efforts to keep word of our travel somewhat under wraps before it was accomplished, this last weekend senator collins, senator barrasso and i had the opportunity to travelling to ukraine with senator mcconnell on a trip where we visited not only president zelenskyy in the presidential palace, but also visited two of what we hope will be the next members of the north atlantic treaty organization, namely, sweden and finland. as we all know it been nearly three months now since russia invaded ukraine. there's no telling what president putin expected, perhaps he expected to be able
to occupy ukraine without firing a shot. but the fact is, that the ukrainians' spirit and will to defend their country remains unbroken and undaunted and putin's plans have failed, and failed miserably. we saw this firsthand when we had a chance to visit kyiv this weekend. before the invasion, kyiv was a cultural, religious and economic hub for a great country of ukraine. despite being damaged by russia's failed attempt to seize the city and occupy ukraine, kyiv still embodies the ukrainian will to survive against all odds. when we were there, we met, of course, with president zelenskyy and his advisors, they have done what i think we all hope we would do in the face of an unprovoked invasion
and that is to remain steadfast in dedication to your people and your country. president zelenskyy's leadership has inspired free nations and free people around the world. his unwavering commitment to ukraine and sovereignty has helped rally the rest of the freedom loving world to come to the aid of ukraine in a number of different ways. president zelenskyy, of course, is a product of ukrainian culture that values strength, resilience, a love of homeland and we know that the people of ukraine are the same and certainly no different. the ukrainian people are determined not just to defend their country, but to win in this fight against russia and that's what they have been doing. what they've asked of us is to give them the tools that they
need to fight their own fight. since the earliest days of this invasion, the u.s. has provided billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance and we continue looking to president zelenskyy for-- so we can understand what more is needed. this is not only a security crisis, this is a humanitarian crisis as well since ukraine is known generally as the bread basket of europe. he and his advisors warned us about the possibility of global food shortages caused by russian blockade of ukrainian ports. this will lead to widespread famine, not just in europe, but throughout africa and spread the pain far afield of europe. when it comes to military aid, president zelenskyy emphasized
a message he's consistently shared with us. we need more and we need it faster. more stingers, more javelins, more air defenses, more lethal aid. last week, president biden signed a bill that i introduced along with senators wicker, carden and shaheen which was called the ukraine democracy lend lease act. this legislation is rooted in the same lend lease legislation that president roosevelt signed into law in 1941 with i allowed the united states and great britain and other allies with military equipment. and president roosevelt turned into the arsenal of democracy and the lend lease act helped accomplishment that. this legislation, the act which has now been signed into law by
president biden cuts red tape so we can quickly give ukraine what it needs to win the war against russia. during our visit president zelenskyy shared with us the importance of this historic program. we also discussed our commitment to helping ukraine until they are victorious and encourage our allies and partners around the world to work with us, to continue to work with us, to continue to make sure that ukraine has what it needs to defend itself and of course, we are now, as i said, just shy of three months into this war and we know that we will be called upon to do more, but we all have a part to play in ensuring that putin ultimately abandons as futile, this mission to recreate the soviet union. this week, as we know, the senate will consider a
supplemental funding bill to provide ukraine with even more security and humanitarian assistance. i know there are some who disagree with more funding for ukraine. to them, i would say this funding, this support, this military and humanitarian support is not strictly an act of altruiusm on our part. we are doing this, also, because allowing ukraine to defend itself is in our best interest. we can't kid ourselves by thinking putin would simply end with his brutal conquest of ukraine or if he did, that he wouldn't start it up again in the near future. if putin took ukraine or a sizable portion of its geography, this would be the next domino to fall in putin's mad drive to try to cobble together whatever he can of the old russian empire.
which would have extreme consequences for america and the rest of the world. even though ukraine is not a member of the national-- excuse me, of the north atlantic treaty organization, the outcome of that war will without a doubt have an impact on the united states and our n.a.t.o. allies. and an invasion of an n.a.t.o. country would trigger article five of the north atlantic treaty alliance, which would require us to come to the aid and to the defense of a fellow member of that alliance. already, putin has made threats against maldova, romania and now sweden and finland. his actions are an attack on the entire west and threaten peace and security around the world. and it's literally a threat on the idea of freedom itself. today's front line is ukraine.
where that front line will shift tomorrow is largely up to us and the ukrainians. peace on the european continent is a peace fought for and won by the sacrifices of many that came before us. obviously, we have experienced an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity around the world following the second world war because having experienced two world wars in the same continent every a period of 40 or 50 years, anybody in their right mind would look for a way to try to resist and reduce the likelihood of another war in europe during our lifetime. and it was because of the sacrifices of our parents and grandparents that we've had this-- what bob gates, the former secretary of defense has called, a holiday from history. most of us have grown up
knowing nothing, but the peace and prosperity bought with the contributions and sacrifices of our parents and grandparents. but we now have our own responsibility, not only to our communities, to our families and to our nation, to act in the face of this aggression, we have to contribute our part to the preservation of freedom and democracy around the world by helping ukraine defend its freedom and its democracy. of course, our support for ukraine has costs, but every position will entail a cost. of course, in this situation, the cost of the united states doing nothing, of simply turning over this democracy and our security and our economy to putin, well, that's greater than any cost that could come
by a supplemental appropriations that the united states congress might assess to ukraine. we know that world wars have been started by lesser actions. and we must do everything we can to prevent this contagion from spreading beyond its current boundaries. so what's at stake here is greater than the future of any one nation. the security of europe is in question. the reach of russia's aspirations to reestablish its former empire are as well. and we know that there are global repercussions. how would we choose to respond? of course, other adversaries of the united states are watching to see what we do. china, iran, and north korea are looking for any sign of weakness that would permit them
to take advantage of that weakness to do something similar to what putin is doing and we cannot show these authoritarian governments or their leaders any weakness that might encourage them to replicate putin's aggression. while abroad as i said, we visited with the leadership of finland and sweden, a difficult and historic time for them. both countries have historically been non-aligned with any waring power, but they realize the imminent threat that this invasion of ukraine, what that means to them and their safety and their security. both countries are now in the process of applying for membership in the north atlantic treaty organization and i'm pleased to see that they will move forward with that decision and are, as i
speak, adding them to this alliance, which produced the longest unbroken peace and security of any treaty that the united states has been a part to. their participation will give the united states crucial partners in scandinavia and in the high north and in the arctic region, and it will nearly double the land border russia shares with n.a.t.o. countries. you know, it's ironic that putin said one reason he invaded ukraine is he did not want ukraine to become part of n.a.t.o. he didn't want n.a.t.o. on his border. well, thanks to his missteps and miscalculations, now he will find finland with an 830-mile border, a member of n.a.t.o. and on the russian border, exactly what he said he hoped to avoid.
now, i applaud the parliaments of sweden and finland breaking with their longstanding provision of neutrality in order to serve the interests of their people and add to the collective security of europe. finland and sweden will add to their safety and add to n.a.t.o. and enhance the deterrents of the collective agreement known as the north atlantic treaty alliance. during our meetings i have told our colleagues, our parliamentarians from sweden and finland that i back their accession unequivocally. both have seen and acted on a major lesson of putin's invasion of ukraine. putin does not honor nationally agreed upon borders no matter the cost.
sweden and finland both have well-resourced militaries and i look forward as one senator to welcoming them into n.a.t.o. and i hope all of our colleagues will agree with that when the time comes. i'm grateful to leader mcconnell for putting together this past weekend's trip and found it enormously educational and i think it sent a great message not only to president zelenskyy and the ukrainian people that we will continue to support them, whether it's with lethal aid or humanitarian assistance, and likewise, i think it sent a message to our impending additions to n.a.t.o., sweden, and finland, that we will support their addition to n.a.t.o. when the time comes here in the united states senate. lastly, i want to share a message from ukraine. president zelenskyy asked us,
as representatives of our various states, and the american people to convey to the american people his personal thanks and gratitude for supporting them during this existential fight with russia. we, in turn, thank president zelenskyy for showing the world what one country and one inspired leader can do to rally the cause of freedom and democracy and non-aggression around the world. president zelenskyy and the ukrainians have changed the course of history for the better and we unequivocally are with the ukrainian penal in their fight-- the ukrainian people in their fight for democracy. i yield the floor. >> and senate is considering a bill to ukraine. this bill brings up the questions of constitutionality