Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, then meet with President Biden and members of Congress in Washington, D.C., in what will be his second trip to the United States since Russia launched an invasion of his homeland in early 2022.
As during his first visit, his message will be straightforward: To support Ukraine is to support democracy, stability and peace. But with the war now well into its second year, he also needs to address worries about the potential length, and extent, of the conflict.
Ahead of Zelensky’s visit, Yahoo News spoke with Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat and combat veteran who represents the suburbs south of Boston. An ally of President Biden — who has steadfastly supported Ukraine, in contrast to former President Trump and some in the Republican Party —Auchincloss has emerged as one of Washington’s most consistent, and articulate, supporters of Ukraine.
The following conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Read more on Yahoo News: Rep. Jake Auchincloss urges U.S. to keep supporting Ukraine: ‘It’s sending a message’
Yahoo News: I’d love your assessment of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Auchincloss: Let's remember that Ukraine is launching this counteroffensive without adequate airpower. No Western military would send infantry into two, three, lines of well-fortified entrenchments without close air support. Would never happen. And that's what we're asking Ukraine to do.
But even without airpower, they have broken through the first line of defense in the southeast. So it's doable, it's just slower and tougher than it needs to be.
Read more on Yahoo News: Deputy defense minister reports Ukrainian troops now securing newly captured areas near Robotyne following recent advances, from the New Voice of Ukraine
Yahoo News: What do you say to Americans who argue, ‘Listen, you know, I'm no fan of Vladimir Putin, but we have given Ukraine billions of dollars. We are not appeasing anybody, but now we just have to tend to our own store, and Ukraine has to defend itself.’
Auchincloss: Donald Trump says that.
Ukraine is a battleground. It's not just a battleground for Ukraine's territorial sovereignty. It's a battleground for the West’s resolution to stand for freedom and democracy the world over. And that message is just as important, if not more so, in Beijing as it is in the Kremlin. I say this openly to every politician in Washington: “If you are soft on Russia, you are soft on China.”
And MAGA is soft on Russia.
Read more on Yahoo News: War in Ukraine is a warning to China of the risks in attacking Taiwan, from the Conversation
Yahoo News: What’s your message to Zelensky?
Auchincloss: That the American people stand with him and with his cause, and that he should not allow Donald Trump's dangerous and cowardly fixation on Vladimir Putin dissuade him from keeping up the fight on the frontlines of the free world.
Read more on Yahoo News: Zelensky says US support to Ukraine is bigger than war: ‘If Ukraine falls, Putin will surely go further,’ from The Hill