March 4, 2022 For Immediate Release | Contact: Georgeanna Sullivan (202) 225-2956
BLAINE’S BULLETIN: THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE
To think the devastation in Ukraine is taking place in the year 2022 is almost unimaginable. Vladimir Putin has invaded a sovereign nation completely unprovoked with the full force of the Russian military behind him. Since last Thursday when the attack began, Russian troops have attacked citizens with tanks, heavy artillery and missiles. Putin has put what true evil looks like on full display for the world to see.
Over one million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country seeking safety in the last week and countless civilian lives have been lost. Children with cancer are being cared for and babies are being born underground in bomb shelters. We’ve seen heartbreaking videos of men who are planning to fight putting their families on trains toward safety and saying goodbye for what could be the last time. Women and children are living in subway stations. Cities are being destroyed by airstrikes and sirens warning of another air threat ring out throughout the night. To say this situation is devastating does not begin to cover it. Civilians are not collateral damage; in most cases they are the targets of Russian military force. But through this brutal attack, we have seen an incredible spirit from the people of Ukraine and its leaders, especially President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. President Zelenskyy, who was often dismissed as a former actor and comedian, is quickly proving to be a fierce leader and advocate for his country. He is fighting alongside his fellow Ukrainians and his strength and patriotism have been inspiring to watch. Ukraine is not going down without a fight and America and the rest of the free world are behind them.
Vladimir Putin is an erratic, unstable maniac, so there really is no way to know whether this could have been prevented. However, so much more could and should have been done to deter Putin and help Ukraine prepare for the worst. The Administration should have understood the urgency and started prepping last fall when the real threat first began. We should have been providing Ukraine – our ally – with the necessary resources to defend themselves. And shutting down our domestic energy sources like the Keystone Pipeline has forced America to be in business with Russia which, as we are seeing unfold before our eyes, is a disastrous place to be.
In 2019 and 2020, after decades of depending on foreign powers to sell us oil, the United States was finally energy independent. Unfortunately, when President Biden assumed office, he forfeited our place as a top energy exporter and put America in a position to rely on Russia to help heat our homes, drive our cars, and sustain our economy. This month alone, the U.S. is scheduled to import 12 million barrels of oil from Russia. Russia also provides 40% of the EU’s natural gas. And now our combined dependence on Russian energy is funding Putin’s war crimes. To help our country move in the right direction toward energy autonomy, I signed onto the American Energy Independence from Russia Act. This bill would flip the American energy switch back on and allow us to once again be our own providers of oil and gas, increasing our national security and shoring up our economy. While I don’t expect some of my colleagues to ever reverse their radical views on energy, I’m hoping that now that we’ve seen the true effects of unrealistic policies, enough people on both sides of the aisle will understand the importance of energy independence.
The conflict in Ukraine has been horrific to watch, and Russia is not only a threat to both Ukraine and Europe, but the entire world. My biggest fear is what might be coming next. Russia could be clearing the way for an even more emboldened China which would affect the United States directly and immediately. As we unfortunately saw during the pandemic, we rely on China for a lot more than we would like to admit – everything from electronics to medication. In 2020 alone the U.S. imported $435 billion worth of Chinese goods. And our good friend and ally, Taiwan – whose independence is constantly being threatened by the Chinese Communist Party – is the world’s largest chip producer. We must end our dependence on tyrants for critical resources, and I hope the conflict in Russia can serve as a wakeup call for the United States.
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