WASHINGTON, D.C. — On a day when Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invoked memories of 9-11 and Pearl Harbor in describing the death and destruction going on in Ukraine and pleading for more help, President Biden announced another $800 million in aid to provide drones that launch missiles, anti-aircraft and anti-armor missiles as well as ammunition.
However, the administration still will not advocate, as President Zelenskyy requested, designating a "no-fly zone" over Ukraine, or allowing the deployment of MIG jet fighters to Poland to be flown into Ukraine.
I had a chance to speak with Colorado Senator Michael Bennet Wednesday afternoon about the speech from President Zelenskyy and the billions of dollars in support the U.S. is sending to Ukraine.
He told me that Zelenskyy's speech was inspiring and the photos and video images provided were devastating and heartbreaking.
Short of deploying U.S. troops into Ukraine and not moving forward on the "no-fly zone", or deploying fighter jets, Senator Bennett said, "I think we have a sacred responsibility to back up the courage of the Ukraine people and we have to do everything we can to do it without setting off World War 3 because I can tell you President Putin does not have the same scruples as we do."
The Senator was frank in saying he doesn't know and can't predict what Putin will do next. The Russian President remains unpredictable and seems intent on making sure that Ukraine does not remain independent, or join the NATO alliance.
I was also curious how the administration can continue to resist sending jets and establishing the "no-fly zone", while at the same time, ramping up our support with more and more military hardware to aid the Ukrainian army, believing that is not an act of war as well.
"I don't think it's one scenario, there's a million scenarios that are going on all over Ukraine right now, seen and unseen, things that we know, things that we don't know, and when we take all of that, we gotta make a decision and I think we should leave every option on the table," said Senator Bennet.
Bennet says it's abundantly clear that the U.S. and most of the rest of the world, understands what is happening, that this push for power by Putin is unprovoked aggression that is costing thousands of lives, while millions more flee the country.
He said the courage of the Ukrainian people and its leader, Zelenskyy, is a model for the rest of the world, and President Zelensky's plea on Wednesday for more help to preserve democracy, independence, and freedom, cannot be overstated.
However, the senator hesitates, for now, to support an escalation that would draw the U.S. and our European partners into a shooting war with Russia.
"We have to do as much damage as we can do to Putins' economy and do as much damage as we can to Putin's military by supporting the Ukrainians, I think that's what we have to do because nothing else is going to change Putin's mind, and that may not change Putin's mind," he said.
While there has been bipartisan support in Congress for the billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, there is not a consensus on how the U.S. will proceed in this conflict.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and others criticized the administration for the timing of its response. McCarthy said we took too long to implement economic sanctions and provide military support. McCarthy believes if we had acted sooner, we would not find ourselves in this situation with Russia to begin with. McCarthy also advocated for sending those MIG fighter jets to Poland to be delivered to Ukraine, so they can establish a "no-fly zone" of their own. He said this is what the American people want. GOP leaders also said that the administration needs to do more to shut down Russia's oil exports and open up more opportunities here in the U.S. to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
In addition to announcing the $800 million in additional military support, President Biden also called Putin, a "war criminal", and the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, ordered Russia to stop attacking Ukraine, though there was little hope it would comply. Also, the 47-nation Council of Europe, the continent's foremost human rights body, expelled Russia.
In response to President Biden's denouncing of Putin today, the Kremlin released a statement, "we consider unacceptable and unforgivable such rhetoric of the head of state, whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world."
We have now moved into the fourth week of this war, and while the two sides say there have been some signs of a diplomatic solution,the death toll continues to mount as the world stares on in horror.