On FOX Business, Portman Discusses Ukraine Counteroffensives, Underscores Key Role of Continued U.S. Military Assistance

September 14, 2022 | Portman Difference

Senator Portman joined FOX Business’ Cavuto: Coast to Coast this afternoon to discuss the progress Ukraine is making in its counteroffensives against Russian forces with the help of the United States military aid. Portman noted his recent bipartisan delegation to Ukraine where he saw a firsthand account of Russia’s illegal, unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine. Portman spoke on the dangers of using energy as a weapon of war in Zaporizhzhia, home of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. He also unscored the importance of assisting Ukraine’s economy in its dire time of need.

A transcript of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview here.

PORTMAN ON HIS BIPARTISAN TRIP TO UKRAINE

“Well first, you're absolutely right. I was in Kyiv, as you know two weeks ago with Senator Klobuchar, a bipartisan delegation, and we met with President Zelenskyy and his military folks and we actually toured some of these sites around Kyiv that have been destroyed. This is great news. We were there. The counteroffensive started in the south and has moved over to the northeast. And it has been incredibly successful. And the exciting thing for me is that the American taxpayers were willing to provide Ukraine, which is the kind of equipment they have been asking for, for a long time. Finally, the Biden administration provided it, is making a difference. Particularly these so-called HIMARS, which are these weapons systems that can shoot artillery a longer distance and very accurately. That has changed the battlefield dynamics significantly. Because before that remember when we talked the Russians were firing on Ukrainian positions with impunity because the Ukrainians couldn’t reach them. That has all changed now and that’s because frankly the United States of America, and our willingness to support them with equipment that they have been asking for. The U.K. and Germany has also provided some of that. But Neil, I’m really pleased to see that one, they're winning and liberating lands that the Russians unlawfully took and have brutally attacked the citizens of those areas, like around Kharkiv. But second, that what we did as a Congress and as a country, and what the American people have done is making a difference.”

PORTMAN ON THE NEED TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE AID TO UKRAINE

“Yeah. There are 49 other countries now that provided military assistance to Ukraine. And again some of them have provided very important equipment like the U.K. I mentioned, and Germany providing these long-range missiles. But we have done more than others and we have been in a leadership position. I don't think it is nearly 90 percent when you add up everything because others have provided various other kinds of equipment including ammunition. Particularly some of the Soviet-era stuff that we frankly don't have but the countries in eastern Europe have in terms of ammunition and even some of the anti-aircraft systems as an example. But we are taking the lead. But to me, that is America's role, you know we have traditionally been taking the lead to liberate people, going back to our history, storied history of World War I, World War II. And we have frankly kind of gotten away from that. We had put a lot of U.S. troops in harm's way in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Here that is not what we're doing. They're not asking our troops on the ground, nor are we providing them but we are providing leadership rallying the rest of the free world behind this cause. That is what Ukraine feels. That is one reason they think they have the momentum right now.”

PORTMAN ON PUTIN’S ATTACKS ON NUCLEAR PLANTS
“I would just say two things, Neil. One it’s already scary because around Zaporizhzhia, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe as you know they have effectively put a military base and they're using it as a shield, and they're actually imploding infrastructure right next to the plant to take electricity into Ukraine because they're trying to steal electricity to take it into Crimea and to Russia. So it was already incredibly reckless, and risking a catastrophe. But you're right. He is pushing back by firing more missiles which he has been doing. One thing that I think is really important is that we help the Ukrainian economy get back on its feet. And to do that we have to help provide them with better anti-aircraft and anti-missile technology because that will bring people back to Ukraine. Remember there are six or seven million people who  are out of the country, six or seven million internally displaced. So until we can get people back and get the economy on more sound footing, it is tough for their economy and their budget. So that’s part of why I think we need to continue what we're doing on the military side, and provide even more air cover, so that Ukraine can pull itself by its own bootstraps which it wants to do to get the economy moving again.”

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