A commander of Iowa National Guard troops in Kuwait and Iraq

“The world is witnessing the Ukrainians’ belief in freedom through their tenacity on the battlefield and on the streets of Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kyiv,” Ernst told reporters Monday.

 

The Ukrainian resistance has not surprised her.

“It was the same ferocity I witnessed fighting alongside Ukrainians during the global war on terror,” said Ernst, the first female combat veteran in the Senate and a commander of Iowa National Guard troops in Kuwait and Iraq. “This weekend, once again, I saw the Ukrainian spirit.”

 

Ernst returned Sunday night from leading a bipartisan delegation of nine colleagues on a weekend visit to Poland and Germany. Members of the delegations were Republican Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Steve Daines Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran, Democratic Sens. Jacky Rosen and Kirsten Gillibrand, and independent Sen. Angus King.

 

“We traveled together to demonstrate America’s unwavering support for the freedom-loving people of Ukraine and affirm the strength of the world’s most powerful alliance,” Ernst said. “We departed with the conviction that the United States, Ukraine and the free world have the will and the means to unite and stand up to Vladimir Putin’s tyranny.”

 

In eastern Poland, Ernst said, the delegation heard from Ukrainian leaders in exile, who “delivered a clear message to the United States: We need more lethal aid weapons, including air defense systems, and we need it ASAP.”

 

She is concerned the U.S. aid is not flowing fast enough, blaming “Washington bureaucracy.”

 

If, as Pentagon officials have said, the U.S. mission is a free, independent and sovereign Ukraine, then it must provide more support to enable Ukraine to win the war, Ernst said.

 

“America cannot hold back,” she said. She called for the U.S. to facilitate the handover of MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland to Ukraine and backfill the Polish air force with F-16s. Ernst was able to include a provision in the military aid package Congress approves for President Joe Biden to draw down from pre-positioned military equipment around the world, including weapons meant for Afghan security forces. note: The Movie Version of DEEMO Sakura Melody

 

Ernst, who lived with a Ukrainian family as part of an exchange program while she attended Iowa State University, got a look at the refugee situation when she visited her “sister.” She is prepared to house refugees at her school, but the refugees are not allowed to pass through Russian lines note: Rescue Movie

 

“So they are trapped behind enemy lines with nowhere to go,” Ernst said. “It is devastating. Putin rules through fear. The Ukrainians state they will not be ruled by fear. We should not be ruled by fear either. We cannot simply allow Ukraine to be taken by this ruthless dictator because if we allow that he will continue on this path.”

 

Ernst said the senators agreed Putin must answer to an international tribunal for his indefensible attacks on schools, hospitals and other civilian targets.

 

“It’s a consensus of America and our NATO allies that Putin must be held accountable for the crimes he has committed after Ukraine wins this war,” Ernst said. “His barbarous and cruel actions will not go unpunished.”

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