A former member of the Ukraine parliament urged President Joe Biden to “demonstrate leadership” and asked for a no-fly zone over her country in its ongoing efforts to defend against the invasion by Russia.
The former Ukrainian Member of Parliament Hanna Hopko sent a letter to Biden Tuesday, joined by more than 70 female politicians and activists, pleading for fighter jets and air defense systems amid “the cry of all Ukrainian children” in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s military onslaught.
“As you read this letter, Ukrainian children are dying under the deliberate Russian air strikes on civilian areas, hospitals and schools; becoming orphans; suffering from horrific injuries and psychological trauma that will scar them for life; being deprived of their homes, their childhoods, and access to healthcare and education,” read the letter, according to Fox News. “Today, the mothers of these suffering innocent children represent the fighting spirit of my nation.”
This child’s mother and father are defending Kyiv. They’ve just decided to say goodbye to the kid. Incredible pride for Ukrainians and unspeakable anger towards enemies. #ProtectUASky #PutinWarCrimes @POTUS @NATO @BorisJohnson @JosepBorrellF @EmmanuelMacron pic.twitter.com/VUDmvfGvYk
— Hanna Hopko (@HopkoHanna) March 8, 2022
In what was called “an appeal to the American nation,” Hopko and the women wrote that these “heartbroken mothers have the ironclad will to do whatever it takes to protect the future of their children in independent Ukraine.”
Biden had communicated with Hopko back in 2015 when he was vice president and she chaired Ukraine’s parliament foreign affairs committee.
Fox News reported that the network “exclusively obtained a letter then-Vice President Biden penned to Hopko in August 2015, in which he promised Ukraine military and loan assistance, and to keep Russian sanctions in place until they ended the occupation of Crimea. Both promises were kept.”
In the letter to Biden this week, as the U.S. and other NATO nations have continued to refuse a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Hopko and the group appealed to Americans directly.
“I implore the American people to act!” they wrote, urging “every American to help us defend Ukraine’s future from an evil Russian attack.”
If the United States can justify continuing air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq and Syria as self-defense, it can certainly mobilize international support for a UN-authorized no-fly zone under ChapterVII to prevent the annihilation of the residents of entire Ukrainian cities
— Hanna Hopko (@HopkoHanna) March 8, 2022
“I appeal to your humanity, your love of freedom, and your will to lead the world in defending against a terrorist regime desecrating human life,” the letter read.
“Now, I am urgently asking you to demonstrate leadership in standing up to Putin’s expansionist campaign,” Hopko wrote, adding that “not since Adolf Hitler have we witnessed the actions of a regime that now poses an existential threat not only to Ukraine, but also Europe and the world.”
Hopko harkened back to an “inspiring” meeting with Biden in 2014 at Ukraine’s Saint Michael Cathedral which was “full of promise” to protect Ukraine from Russia and other threats.
But the letter highlighted the failure of the “western strategy to respond to Russian aggression,” arguing that “limited sanctions” and standard diplomacy have “always been ten steps behind Russia’s aggressive agenda.”
Hanna Hopko is one of the superstars of Ukraine’s formidable civil society. She grew up post-independence and later with the internet which empowered activism and journalism in Ukraine. It’s heartbreaking to see her this way. We must do more to help https://t.co/sHl6O7UjkY
— Andrea Chalupa 🇺🇲 (@AndreaChalupa) March 9, 2022
Hopko, who broke down in tears while speaking with MSNBC’s Katy Tur on Tuesday, also recounted how, in 2020, Ukraine had requested the U.S. impose “severe sanctions proportional to Moscow’s violations of international law and steadily increase them until Russia changes course.”
“Regretfully, nothing happened,” she wrote, implicating the Biden administration policies specifically. “Instead, we saw new Western attempts to woo Putin into diplomacy talks and offer him rewards like Nord Stream 2.”
“Putin rightly interpreted the absence of Western resolve as weakness which emboldened him to continue escalating his aggression,” she added, explaining how in little more than a year into Biden’s presidency, Moscow “de facto annexed Russia occupied Donbas, and set the stage for a new territorial conquest.”
In 2021, Putin “openly and boldly professed his fascist ideology of ‘russism,’ which dictates that Ukraine as a nation must be destroyed,” Hopko noted.
“Mr. Biden, every minute your government and other Western governments are withholding a resolute action to halt Putin’s aggression, the ‘new Ukraine’ that we were building together with your help is being eviscerated through inhumane destruction of my country by Putin’s terrorist forces,” the letter continued.
“Western self-paralysis with respect to engaging the Russian military is based on the defeatist logic that mad man always wins, and Putin fully exploits it. He threatens retaliation for any military support to Ukraine to make my nation an easy prey. And Putin can see his intimidation is working,” Hopko and the group added.
“What if Putin threatens nuclear war unless America withdraws from the Eastern European NATO members? Or, if he issues an ultimatum that NATO has to be disbanded to guarantee ‘Russian security’?” she asked.
“I say that all Putin unlawful claims should be treated the same way as threats of a deranged terrorist,” she wrote defiantly. “One thing is clear, if Ukrainians followed the Western logic we should have surrendered nine years ago. But we didn’t and today we keep ‘provoking’ Putin by shooting down his planes and missiles. Because they are in our sky, while they have no right to.”
Hopko asked Biden directly if it would take Russia “bombing Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons” to get the U.S. and NATO nations to impose a no-fly zone or help get more fighter jets to Ukraine.
“Or, are you going to say that it is too late to save Ukraine then?” she wondered. “Does morality end at the NATO border? Is the American war against terror selective about terrorists? Putin is certainly the number one murderer in the world today.”
“Momentum is on our side. Send us the weapons that can secure victory,” Hopko and the 71 co-signers wrote, adding at the end that “all women politicians, women in Parliament, public activists in one voice ask the world to close the sky.”
“In 12 days 38 kids have been killed, 72 — were wounded. More than 2,000 civilians were killed. The occupiers do not give humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians,” they wrote. “If you don’t close the sky — 3 more children will die every day! During 11 days of the war, Russian occupiers damaged or destroyed 34 hospitals, 202 schools, more than 1,500 residential buildings in Ukraine, including apartment buildings.”
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