WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — The new top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden’s administration to increase military and intelligence support for Ukraine.
“I believe the administration should actively arm Ukraine so that it can defend itself,” Ohio Representative Mike Turner said in an interview. “They want to defend themselves. They should be given every opportunity to do so.”
Washington has committed more than $2 billion in military aid to Ukraine since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and supported an insurgency in the eastern region known as the Donbass. In December, Congress increased security aid to Ukraine to $300 million for 2022, with at least $75 million specifically designated for weapons.
Russia now has a massive military base near Ukraine, raising fears in the West that it is preparing for a new offensive as it advances its demand that Ukraine is ever allowed to join NATO. not be given. The Biden administration has rejected Russia’s demand and expects additional military aid to be provided to Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Republicans and some Democrats have pushed Biden to move more quickly to provide deadly aid to Ukraine. Some lawmakers also want the US to impose sanctions on Russia before any possible aggression.
US and Russian diplomats are holding a series of meetings this week aimed at resolving the crisis in Europe.
Turner replaced Republican Representative Devin Nunes of California, who left Congress to head former President Donald Trump’s new social media company. While Nunes was chairman, the committee launched a controversial investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
After California Representative Adam Schiff took over as chairman, the committee led the first impeachment inquiry into Trump over allegations that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his power to investigate Biden while giving military aid to Kiev. motivated to abuse. Nunes became one of Trump’s staunch defenders.
Those investigations cast a national glare on the secret intelligence committee in general and what members said was a quiet bipartisanship behind closed doors on many other issues.
Turner said, “Not only do we need to focus our attention on our external adversaries and on national security, we need to make sure that information is used in a way that helps us make better decisions in Congress.” “
The committee will be in the spotlight if the GOP wins the House back this fall. Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has already vowed to oust Schiff and fellow Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell from the panel. Turner said Wednesday that any decision on committee membership would be McCarthy’s “sole decision.”
Turner’s call for more forceful American action abroad puts him in trouble with some Republicans who take a more separatist approach. In a widely shared interview in November, Turner argued with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, when Carlson questioned why the US should help Ukraine and suggested that troops be sent to US-Mexico instead. be sent to the border to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally.
“Obviously you need a little education on Ukraine,” Turner told the host.
On Wednesday, Turner said he wants the committee to do more to inform Americans about “near-fellow adversaries” such as China and Russia.
“One of the reasons Russia is moving to Ukraine is because they see the United States as weak,” he said. “When the United States is vulnerable… It’s not that the United States itself is at risk. Our allies are at risk, which certainly puts us at risk.”