The Biden Administration’s Support for Ukraine Put on the Defensive
The Biden administration has been a stalwart supporter of Ukraine in its resistance to the Russian invasion of its homeland. However, recent reports suggest that Ukraine may have conducted an attack on Russian civilians, potentially using weapons received from the United States. These allegations have put the administration on the defensive.
If true, it would be the first Ukraine attack on Russian residential spaces since the war began on Feb. 24, 2022.
Aerial Bombing and Unmanned Drones
Russia has recently stepped up aerial bombing of Ukraine, with a focus on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. Unmanned aerial drones have become staples of the conflict between the nations.
A complication for the Biden administration, if it is discovered that Ukraine had targeted Russian civilians, is that Ukraine would cede some of its moral advantage as a heroic underdog to the powerful Russian bear.
White House Press Secretary Defends Administration’s Support of Ukraine
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed Russia’s claims that Ukraine had intentionally attacked civilians and restated and defended the administration’s support of Ukraine.
“As you know, we’ve seen the news, and are certainly gathering information about what happened to get a better perspective and clarity about what happened,” said Jean-Pierre. “But I can speak to this more generally. We have said this before; we do not support attacks inside Russia. We’ve been very clear about that.
“We have been focused on providing Ukraine—as you’ve heard from the president, as you’ve heard from a national security advisor and many colleagues from NSC [National Security Council]—with the equipment and training they need to retake their own sovereign territory. And that’s exactly what we’ve done for more than a year.”
Jean-Pierre noted that in May, Russia delivered 17 rounds of air strikes on Kyiv, with many hitting civilian areas.
American Public Views on Support for Ukraine
A University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy/NORC at the University of Chicago study published on May 24 found that as of April, 58 percent of American adults favor placing sanctions on Russia, with 14 percent opposing, and 27 percent saying neither. Approximately seven of 10 adults surveyed for the study believe that Russia is unjustified in invading Ukraine.
- 50% support sending weapons to Ukraine
- 23% oppose sending weapons to Ukraine
- 26% don’t have an opinion on sending weapons to Ukraine
- 40% support sending government money to Ukraine
- 35% oppose sending government money to Ukraine
- 24% say they neither favor nor oppose sending government money to Ukraine
Political and Party Divide
Democrats in Congress, far more than Republicans, support the United States in giving Ukraine cash, arms, equipment, and other resources. In May 2022, the House voted 368-57 to pass the White House’s $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine. All no votes were cast by Republicans. Later in the month, in the Senate, the bill passed, 86-11, with every no vote coming from a GOP senator.
Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), a prominent Republican, takes heat for siding with the Biden administration on the policy of aiding Ukraine. Many consider the position evidence that Graham is a RINO (Republican In Name Only).
Among the announced candidates for the Republican nomination for president, there is no broad consensus on the issue of Ukraine. Yet all agree that American troops should not be sent to fight in the war.
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