Briefline

Weapons support from US critical to Ukraine fight against Russia, Rep. Crow says after Kyiv trip

By: - May 5, 2022 5:00 am

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, center, and U.S. Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, right, are pictured during a visit to Kyiv, Ukraine, on the weekend of April 30, 2022, as part of a U.S. House delegation, in a photo released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on May 1, 2022. (Courtesy of Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/CC BY 4.0)

Ukraine’s victory against ongoing Russian aggression hinges on military and humanitarian support from countries like the United States, Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado told reporters after returning from an official trip to the country over the weekend.

Crow, a Democrat, was part of the U.S.’s highest-level delegation trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

“It became very clear that we’re going to have to help Ukrainians win this militarily. That was the message that was very clear to us,” Crow told reporters Wednesday. “The message we made clear to President Zelenskyy was that the United States is going to stand shoulder to shoulder with you. We are not going to stop supporting you. We are in this for the long haul to make sure you are victorious on the field of battle.”

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This was Crow’s second trip to the region since Russia invaded in late February, though his first time in Ukraine itself since last December.

Crow said the goal of the trip was to figure out how to assist with the region’s humanitarian crisis, better support Ukraine through economic sanctions and what the future of weapons aid needs to look like.

“You cannot separate these three areas: the areas of sanctions, humanitarian and refugee support and weapons support. (Russian President) Vladimir Putin is going to press this invasion. He is not going to stop and he is getting more and more desperate, more and more brutal,” Crow said.

The past and current weapons support from the United States has been “decisive” in Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, Crow said. As the conflict evolves from urban battles to longer-range fighting, however, Ukraine needs different kinds of weapons.

That includes more sophisticated lethal drones that can be rearmed and launch rocket systems that have a larger range. Ukrainians also need anti-ship missiles to enable them to safely export agricultural products. Crow said the country is sitting on about 12 million tons of agricultural products that it is unable to ship out due to a maritime threat through the southern port of Odesa.

“This system is really critical for not just the Ukrainian economy but worldwide commerce as well. As we’ve often heard, Ukraine is the bread basket for Europe and Africa and so many places around the world,” Crow said.

Additionally, Crow said the United States needs to help set up mobile training teams so junior forces can regularly rotate out of Ukraine to be trained on these weapons systems.

Crow said that Zelenskyy did not bring up a no-fly zone that would be imposed by NATO countries or having any American troops on the ground in Ukraine. He said he agrees that those two strategies need to be avoided.

“Short of those two things … We can do pretty much anything else. That is to continue to provide tactical and strategic intelligence to the Ukrainians, continue to provide training, and provide most of the weapons systems they are asking for,” he said.

Crow represents the 6th Congressional District in Colorado. He is a former Army ranger and member of the House intelligence and armed services committees.

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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.

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