Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65)
On Saturday, Rep. John Garamendi (Ethiopia 1966-68), a senior member of the armed services committee spoke with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss Russia’s invasion.
He joined a one-hour briefing with 50 members of Congress.
“He knows that he is at the top of the kill list, and he knows that his life is in jeopardy but he has pushed that aside to lead this nation. An incredible man of courage and leadership,” Garamendi said.
Garamendi said Ukraine’s president emphasized that Russian forces are moving away from targeting the Ukrainian military and are now attacking communities.
“He went into detail about high schools, kindergarten schools, apartment buildings, government buildings, presumably with the intent of breaking the wheel of the Ukrainian people,” Garamendi said.
Zelenskyy asked the U.S. for more help.
“The Ukrainian people are determined, in his words, to be free — to not be subjects of Putin and Russia but, rather, to be Ukrainians. To set their own course to make their democracy,” he said.
The war has led to higher gas prices.
“Is there price gouging going on by the oil companies the answer is absolute, yes,” Garamendi said.
California drivers are paying more than $5 for a gallon of unleaded gas which is sparking talk about investigating the six major petroleum companies.
“I think the American people are willing to accept the reality that this is not just about Ukraine if Putin is successful. If the sanctions are to be forgotten and Russian oil is allowed to flow freely around the world and Putin is able to finance his government and finance his military then we should be very very aware that Putin has his eyes on more than Ukraine,” he said.
When asked if there is an end in sight, Garamendi said: “I think there is. The sanctions, together, with the extraordinary bravery of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian military, should continue to receive American military support, financial support. Those sanctions are hurting Russia. The military offense that Putin planned is stalled.”
The U.S. has vowed to keep helping Ukrainian refugees.
“The United States most definitely has the back of the refugees that have left Ukraine and those that are continuing to leave,” Garamendi said.
Those helping with the humanitarian effort said a financial donation is best.
“Generally, in these kinds of crisis situations, it is best to send money to credible organizations that can then assemble the necessary supplies.”