Ukraine seems to feel some of the frustrations we felt when Joe Biden failed to achieve anything.
Russia has launched a major attack on Ukraine. A convoy is currently en route to Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped that Joe Biden could say something “useful.” We’ve all been hoping that he could do that on any number of topics, not just Ukraine. “It’s very serious … I’m not in a movie,” Zelensky, the former actor, said.
But Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksandra Ustinova said this morning on NBC’s “Today” that Biden’s speech was “a total disappointment.”
“To be honest, it was a total disappointment.” – Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, on President Biden’s State of the Union address pic.twitter.com/fLhShKuSWF
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 2, 2022
“To be honest, it was a total disappointment for us,” she told Savannah Guthrie. “I can explain why. Today the entire world sees executions of Ukrainians. It is impossible to name the opposite.
“The right definition is an execution because we see bombs going into our civilian houses every day, we see children dying every day on the streets or in their houses if they didn’t make it to the bomb shelter, we see bombs coming to the orphanages, to the schools. The international community had promised us protection. We gave up our nuclear weapons.”
Ukraine once possessed the world’s third-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
In 1994, however, Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum. This agreement was between Russia and Britain. It stipulated that the U.S. would not attack Ukraine in return for Russia transferring its nuclear arms to Russia.
Because of both Russia’s and American promises of security, the Russians talked them out of nuclear weapons. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), was instrumental in getting them to give up a number of their conventional weapons. The U.S. paid for the help of these people. Their nakedness in front of Russia was a direct result of our efforts. That doesn’t mean we owe troops; it does mean that they have something of a right to expect we will be “useful.” But unfortunately, they’re stuck with Biden.
“And today when I see President Biden saying that we’re going to protect every inch of the NATO territory, excuse me, we’ve been promised the same thing when we gave up our nuclear weapons,” Ustinova said. “The Russians have totally destroyed all of the airports in Ukraine, the majority of the roads. We are grateful for help, but we need protection in our sky.” [….]
“We have been protecting ourselves on the ground, but if we do not protect our sky, if there is (not) a no-fly zone or if there is no dome to protect it with the air defense, we will all go down,” Ustinova said. “People will literally die.”
Ustinova sought to understand what the U.S. would need to do to increase its engagement beyond sanctions economic and military support of NATO nations bordering Ukraine.
“What is the red line that (Vladimir) Putin has to cross for NATO and the U.S. to step in?” she said. “We’re not asking for boots on the ground. We’re asking for the iron dome or for the no-fly zone.
Now, the U.S. isn’t going to be part of implementing a “no-fly zone,” but even the sanctions they put in place are lacking.
Ustinova discredited the Biden claims about the SWIFT sanction’s impact, and said that the SWIFT sanction only applied to seven banks of 300. “That is not a sanction,” she said. “If you are talking about the energy sector, this is what’s feeding Putin. That’s his main money where coming from and there are no sanctions for the energy sector.”
But despite Biden’s words, he wouldn’t even go about starting to cut off Russian oil and releasing restrictions on American energy production.
So, it’s not hard to see why Ukraine – in the fight for their lives – would feel let down by Biden.