Ukraine appears to be feeling some of that frustration that we have felt with Joe Biden with his general failure to be effective on virtually anything.
Ukraine is under huge assault from Russia, with a convoy bearing down on the capital city of Kyiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he hoped that Joe Biden could say something “useful.” We’ve all been hoping that he could do that on any number of topics, not just Ukraine. “It’s very serious … I’m not in a movie,” Zelensky, the former actor, said.
But Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksandra Ustinova said this morning on NBC’s “Today” that Biden’s speech was “a total disappointment.”
“To be honest, it was a total disappointment.” – Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, on President Biden’s State of the Union address pic.twitter.com/fLhShKuSWF
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 2, 2022
“To be honest, it was a total disappointment for us,” she told Savannah Guthrie. “I can explain why. Today, the whole world is watching Ukrainians being executed. I cannot name it the other way around.
“The right definition is an execution because we see bombs going into our civilian houses every day, we see children dying every day on the streets or in their houses if they didn’t make it to the bomb shelter, we see bombs coming to the orphanages, to the schools. And we had been promised a protection by the international community. We gave up our nuclear weapons.”
Ukraine once possessed the world’s third-largest arsenal of nuclear weapons following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
However, the sovereign nation signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 in which Russia, Britain and the U.S. committed to refrain from attacking Ukraine in exchange for the country turning over its nuclear arsenal to Russia to be dismantled.
So, they were talked out of their nuclear weapons (and that protection) in part because of the promise of security promised by both Russia and the United States. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was then instrumental in talking them out of a lot of their conventional weapons; the U.S. even paid to help get rid of them. We were very instrumental in leaving them naked in the face of Russia. That doesn’t mean we owe troops; it does mean that they have something of a right to expect we will be “useful.” But unfortunately, they’re stuck with Biden.
“And today when I see President Biden saying that we’re going to protect every inch of the NATO territory, excuse me, we’ve been promised the same thing when we gave up our nuclear weapons,” Ustinova said. “The Russians have totally destroyed all of the airports in Ukraine, the majority of the roads. We are grateful for help, but we need protection in our sky.” [….]
“We have been protecting ourselves on the ground, but if we do not protect our sky, if there is (not) a no-fly zone or if there is no dome to protect it with the air defense, we will all go down,” Ustinova said. “People will literally die.”
Ustinova wanted to know what it would take for the U.S. to heighten its involvement beyond economic sanctions and military assistance of NATO countries bordering Ukraine.
“What is the red line that (Vladimir) Putin has to cross for NATO and the U.S. to step in?” she said. “We’re not asking for boots on the ground. We’re asking for the iron dome or for the no-fly zone.
Now, the U.S. isn’t going to be part of implementing a “no-fly zone,” but even the sanctions they put in place are lacking.
Ustinova punctured the Biden claims behind the impact of the SWIFT sanction, saying that only applied to 7 banks out of 300. “That is not a sanction,” she said. “If you are talking about the energy sector, this is what’s feeding Putin. That’s his main money where coming from and there are no sanctions for the energy sector.”
But despite Biden’s words, he wouldn’t even go about starting to cut off Russian oil and releasing restrictions on American energy production.
So, it’s not hard to see why Ukraine – in the fight for their lives – would feel let down by Biden.