The only member of Congress born in Ukraine accused both President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of “playing politics” and failing to execute a clear strategy Wednesday as Russian forces press ahead with their invasion of the Eastern European country.
The statement by freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) marked a rare break from other US politicians, who have largely offered praise for Zelensky as a wartime leader.
“As someone who learns everything from the ground, I spent some time around Europe including a number of visits to Ukraine,” Spartz said. “Therefore, my understanding of the situation in Ukraine is not from books and theories or surveillance reports and analytics, but from seeing and hearing what’s actually happening with my own eyes. I will not go into many problems at this time and there are a [sic] plenty of them, but will just list three urgent action items needed to get the situation under control.”
“President Biden has to stop playing politics, have a clear strategy and align security assistance with our strategy,” she began, adding that “President Zelensky has to stop playing politics and theater, and start governing better to support his military and local governments.”
Finally, Spartz said, “Congress has to establish proper oversight of critical infrastructure and delivery of weapons and aid.”
Spartz made her comments as Russian forces stepped up their offensive in the southeastern province of Donetsk, one of two claimed by pro-Moscow separatists after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the complete seizure of the other province, Luhansk, after Ukrainian troops withdrew from the last city under their control.
Since Russian forces failed to make inroads in capturing Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, Moscow has concentrated its offensive on seizing the remaining Ukrainian-held areas of the so-called Donbas region, which consists of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
Spartz, 43, was born in the northern city of Nosivka and immigrated to the US in 2000, though she still has relatives in Ukraine.
While most lawmakers have enthusiastically endorsed massive aid packages to assist Ukraine in fighting off Moscow’s forces, some have called for the money flow to be more closely monitored.
In May, Congress approved $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held up the legislation for a week to unsuccessfully insist on language appointing a special inspector general to oversee the distribution of the money.
With Post wires