Ukraine can win this war with our support

Russia Ukraine War
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, center, poses for photo with soldiers at the site of the heaviest battles with the Russian invaders in Bakhmut, Ukraine, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP) AP

Ukraine can win this war with our support

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As perhaps the only person in the world who has been on the front lines with the Ukrainians as a humanitarian and on the House floor with then-Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy as a leadership staffer, I have a unique perspective on aid to Ukraine.

My charity, the Ukraine Freedom Project, was founded on day five of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Three-Day Special Military Operation.” I’ve been to the front many times and am in daily contact with Ukrainian friends who are fighting or have recently returned. I have worked with Ukrainian war crimes investigators who have too much horrific evidence to document.

As a fiscal conservative and witness to the war, I can say unequivocally that U.S. aid to Ukraine is one of the best values for money in the history of foreign aid.


In late March, Russians surrounded the capital city of Kyiv on three sides and had occupying forces in 11 of Ukraine’s 24 provinces.

Today, the Ukrainian military has pushed the Russian occupiers out of seven provinces and is in the process of retaking an eighth. While Putin has waged a terror campaign against Ukrainian civilians, the Russian military has lost most of the ground it took in its full-scale invasion.

At sea, the Ukrainians, with a navy smaller than that of the almost completely land-locked desert country of Jordan, have taken out one Russian flagship and severely damaged its replacement. The much-vaunted Russian Black Sea fleet is currently trying to find the best place to hide from naval drones designed and built in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian military has been a very good steward of the equipment the United States has given it. One example: Ukraine received 20 HIMARS precision artillery systems from the Pentagon in late June. These weapons are shredding the Russian front lines. Despite Russia’s best efforts to destroy them, America’s 20 HIMARS are all still on the battlefield today.

In contrast, the Russian military has lost an estimated 400 multiple rocket launch systems similar to the HIMARS, along with 2,700 tanks, 5,600 armored vehicles, and 1,800 pieces of artillery. Despite this success, my Ukrainian friends at the front say Russia still outnumbers them in artillery, 12 to 1.

Some well-meaning conservative groups make the claim that the U.S. has already sent $66 billion to Kyiv. But much of that money goes nowhere near Kyiv. For example, $9.7 billion goes to increasing the U.S. military presence in Europe. Another $2 billion goes to mitigating the impact of increased energy costs related to the war. Another $14 billion goes to replenishing U.S. military stocks. Even the $17 billion in military aid appropriated for Ukraine’s use does not get wired to the accounts of the Ukrainian government. Appropriately enough, it stops in America first, creating good jobs in red states such as Alabama, where the Javelin missile is manufactured, and Arkansas, where the HIMARS is produced.

While the HIMARS and Javelin are state of the art, some of the more prolific weapon systems going to Ukraine are DOD castoffs, being phased out of our own military. For example, the Pentagon has sent some 142 of the M777 Howitzers to Ukraine along with 200 M113 armored personnel carriers.

Some would say our support for Ukraine against Russia takes our eye off the ball of the bigger threat from China. But China’s eye is on Ukraine. Had Putin rolled into Kyiv in three days, China surely would have advanced on Taiwan.

For decades, the Pentagon has spent billions yearly and trillions cumulatively countering the Soviet and Russian threat. Now, at a cost of less than 3% of the $782 billion 2022 defense budget, we have helped the Ukrainians stop in its tracks the second-most powerful military in the world. Even better, they are doing so using mostly secondhand American weapons and in full view of the People’s Liberation Army.

From my vantage point in Kyiv, the skepticism about Ukraine spending is rooted in a justifiable desire not to ladle out money without oversight. I would agree. The Ukraine Freedom Project has raised almost $300,000 for humanitarian aid. As a fiscal conservative, I’m in Ukraine to make sure the money entrusted to me is spent well. Taxpayers deserve no less.

Ukraine has momentum and can win the war with our continued help. Pulling back on funding at this critical time would send the wrong message not only to Russia but also to China, Iran, and a host of other junior varsity strongmen around the world.


Steven Moore is the founder of the Ukraine Freedom Project. He served as chief of staff to former House Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL).

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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