SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah Sen. Mike Lee is co-leading an open letter directed at President Joe Biden, expressing concern about the United States’ response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine while urging the president to advocate for peace talks.
Lee along with 18 other Republican senators and representatives wrote they were “deeply concerned” about potentially escalating conflict with Russia and the amount of money spent in assistance to Ukraine.
Russia launched its main invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. In the year since, the United States and NATO allies have supported Ukraine’s defense through military, monetary, and humanitarian aid. The Pentagon recently said it will be sending $500 million in ammunition and equipment and spend more than $2 billion to buy munitions, radar, and weapons to help Ukraine counter Russian drones and a spring offensive.
According to the open letter, the U.S. has committed over $113 billion in the last year, which they claim the country is in no position to spend.
“To prop up a foreign government that is historically mired in corruption while the American people suffer from record inflation and a crippling national debt is wildly irresponsible on its own – but to do so while our military contends with aging weapons systems and depleted stockpiles is disgraceful,” the Republican group wrote.
In addition to the spending, the Republican leaders wrote concerns about growing friction between Russia and Western countries. The letter claims that the extent of United States’ aid makes it “increasingly difficult” to deny Russian accusations of U.S. complicity in a proxy war. The letter directly references a Reuters article reporting Vladimir Putin’s advisors framing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as a “military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain.”
The Republican leaders said the decision to invade Ukraine is evidence that Putin is willing to use military force and the United States should be careful to not push the limits and “risk a catastrophe.” Aside from the growing tension between Russia and NATO, the letter also expressed concern about the Biden administration’s strategy toward Ukraine pushing Russia and China closer together.
“There are appropriate ways in which the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people,” wrote the Mike Lee-led group. “but unlimited supplies in support of endless war is not one of them. Our national interests, and those of the Ukrainian people, are best served by incentivizing the negotiations that are urgently needed to bring this conflict a resolution.”
Sen. Lee’s Utah colleague, Sen. Mitt Romney, previously stood in support of providing aid to Ukraine. On the one-year anniversary of the invasion, Romney posted a Twitter thread saying it was in America’s best interest to support and stand up against Russia.
“If Russia can invade, subjugate, and pillage Ukraine with impunity, it will do the same again to others, and a world at war diminishes the security of Americans,” wrote Romney.
Romney closed out his statement by saying the global competition between dictatorship and democracy is at center stage in Ukraine.
“The world is watching to see whether we have the courage to our convictions. America will not shrink from supporting freedom,” closed Romney.
The Biden Administration has not yet publically responded to the letter submitted by the 19 Republican leaders, though during a White House briefing, Admiral John Kirby said the U.S. is comfortable and confident it can continue to protect and defend national security across a range of capabilities.