September 14, 2022
Senator Portman Joins FOX Business’ Kafuto: From Coast to Coast This afternoon we will discuss Ukraine’s progress in its counter-attacks against Russian forces with the help of US military assistance. Portman referred to his recent bipartisan delegation to Ukraine where he saw a first-hand account of Russia’s illegal, unjustified and brutal war on Ukraine. Portman spoke about the dangers of using energy as a weapon of war in Zaporizhia, home of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. Nor did he specify the importance of helping the Ukrainian economy in a difficult time of need.
A transcript of the interview can be found below and you can also watch the interview over here.
Portman on his bipartisan trip to Ukraine
“Well first, you’re absolutely right. I was in Kyiv, you know two weeks ago with Senator Klobuchar, a bipartisan delegation, and we met President Zelensky and his military and actually toured some of these sites around Kyiv that were destroyed. That’s great news. We were there. The counterattack in the south and moved to the northeast. And it was incredibly successful. And the exciting thing for me was that the American taxpayers were willing to supply Ukraine, the kind of equipment they’ve been asking for for a long time. Finally, the Biden administration delivered that, and it makes a difference. …in particular the so-called HIMARS, which are weapons systems that can fire artillery at longer distances and with greater accuracy.This has dramatically changed the dynamics of the battlefield.Because before that he remembered when we talked that the Russians were shooting at Ukrainian positions with impunity because The Ukrainians couldn’t get to it. All that has changed now and that’s because frankly the USA, and our willingness to support them with the equipment they were asking for. The UK and Germany also provided some of that. But Neil, I’m seeking D really seeing that, they are victorious and liberating the lands that the Russians took illegally and brutally attacked the citizens of those regions, like Kharkiv. But second, what we’ve done as Congress and as a state, and what the American people have done is make a difference.”
Portman on the need to continue providing assistance to Ukraine
“Yes. There are 49 other countries that have now provided military aid to Ukraine. And again, some of them provided very important equipment like the UK you mentioned, and Germany provided these long-range missiles. But we did more than others and we were in a leadership position. I don’t think the percentage is close to 90. Percent when you add everything because others have provided different types of equipment including ammunition. In particular, some Soviet-era stuff that we don’t have frankly but Eastern European countries have in terms of ammunition and even some anti-aircraft systems as an example. But we take Lead. But for me, that’s America’s role, you know, we’ve traditionally been taking the lead in liberating people, back in our history, history of World War I, World War II. And frankly, we kind of got away from that. We put a lot of U.S. troops are in danger in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Here that’s not what we’re doing. They don’t demand our troops on the ground, we don’t provide them but we provide the leadership that mobilizes the rest of the free world behind this cause. That’s what Ukraine feels. This is one Reasons why they think they have the momentum right now.”
Portman on Putin’s attacks on nuclear plants
“I would just say two things, Neal. One of them is really scary because around Zaporizhzhia, which is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe you know, they have effectively put up a military base and are using it as a shield, and they are actually blowing up the infrastructure right next to the plant taking electricity to Ukraine because they are trying to Stealing electricity to take it to Crimea and Russia. So it was already incredibly reckless, risking catastrophe. But you’re right. He’s holding back by firing more missiles which he’s been doing. The only thing I think is really important is that we help the Ukrainian economy to get back on their feet again.And to do that, we have to help them give them better anti-aircraft and anti-missile technology because that will bring people back to Ukraine.Remember that there are six or seven million people outside the country, six or seven million IDPs.So, so that we can bring back People and make the economy on a sound footing, it’s hard on their economy and their budget.That’s part of the reason why I think we need to continue what we’re doing on the military side, provide more air cover, so Ukraine can pull the Suha through the shoe you want to do to get the economy moving again. “