House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) traveled to Ukraine on Monday and claimed there remains “overwhelming” congressional support for providing Kiev with military aid. His remarks appear to contradict the White House assessment that Congress is not prepared to pass another massive aid package.
During his comments in Kiev, Turner acknowledged that there is a minority in both parties that desires a debate over further aid to Ukraine. However, he said, “overwhelmingly, there is support for continuing aid to Ukraine, so that they can continue to fight against this aggression of Russia.”
In January, CIA Director William Burns traveled to Kiev and warned President Volodymyr Zelensky that at some point aid would be harder to come by. An unnamed adviser to Zelensky told Politico in February, “I think both on Capitol Hill and in the administration, there are people who are looking to calibrate security assistance to incentivize the Ukrainians to cut some sort of deal, I’m afraid.”
Turner made the trip to Ukraine with three other members of Congress, Chris Stewart (R-UT), Rich McCormick (R-GA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL). Stewart claimed most Americans will support arming Kiev for the long term, explaining “most conflicts such as this between nation-states take time to resolve themselves.” He added that he believes “the American people understand that, as long as they feel like progress is being made over being careful with the money and being thoughtful of how we involve US resources.”
Former Secretary of State and CIA chief Mike Pompeo was also in Ukraine on Monday, where he declared that Washington would continue to support Kiev as long as it does not require direct involvement by the US military of American boots on the ground. “[Zelensky] hasn’t asked for our young men and women. So long as we stay in that place, I’m convinced that most American leaders will see it that way and will support the continued efforts,” he said.