As someone who spends time in Washington, D.C. visiting with government leaders and discussing the situation on the ground in Ukraine, I can honestly say that media coverage painting a political rift over support for Ukraine misses the mark completely. Contrary to those efforts to portray it as yet another partisan conflict, our leaders are united in providing support for the people trapped in this humanitarian crisis.
Yes, they will always argue about where and how to spend money, but in my view, politicians on both sides of the aisle understand how important it is that Ukraine be supported politically, militarily and, most of all, with a steady stream of humanitarian aid, and any media narrative to the contrary is false. As evidence, I point to the recent announcement that the United States – with bipartisan support – will send another $300 million in military aid to the country.
Almost everyone I’ve met with on Capitol Hill has expressed a desire not only for Ukraine to successfully defend itself, but for the people of Ukraine to know and feel the full support of the United States in every facet of their lives – from basic human needs and physical and mental health to education, technology and infrastructure. According to a Pew Research survey released in May, most Americans seem to agree as well. The poll found a majority of U.S. adults have positive opinions about Ukraine and its leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and negative views of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.
The truth is that the Ukrainian people are living under siege, and they need all the help they can get from the United States and its allies. We are not the kind of people who sit by and watch a humanitarian crisis unfold without doing something to help.
But, while they desperately need bullets, rockets, bombs and warplanes, they also need to feed, house and educate tens of millions of displaced families and individuals. There are organizations like the Red Cross and others that do a great job of basic life support – offering food, water and housing to those who have been displaced or stayed in the de-occupied regions which have experienced significant structural damage. But that cannot be all there is to offer to the people of Ukraine.
For example, shelling and bombing have destroyed at least 441 schools and education centers in Ukraine and damaged nearly 2,700 others. As a result, about 800,000 children changed their form of education from in-person to distance education, and only half of the students had a computer or a laptop to study remotely. In response, we at Ukraine Friends are collecting donations of used laptops and other supplies from companies across America.
As a non-government organization, we have witnessed full bipartisan support on all fronts concerning Ukraine, and I am confident that – despite what you might read in the papers, most politicians and most Americans want the war to end and want Ukraine to maintain its freedom.