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McCain Institute Stands With Ukraine One Year After Russia Invasion

Statements from McCain Institute Executive Director Farkas and Board Members Ayotte, Esper, Lieberman, Massimino, McCain, Petraeus, and Townsend 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas and members of the McCain Institute’s Board of Trustees today issued the following statements marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine on February 24:

“As we mark the one-year anniversary of the latest stage in Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, it is important to note that Ukrainians have felt the brunt of Vladimir Putin’s revanchist foreign policy long before February 24, 2022. The brave Ukrainian defenders who have been outgunned and outmanned from the start have shown the world that it is possible to defend democracy from authoritarian aggression. Despite the heavy losses incurred, and the constant fear of indiscriminate Russian bombing, Ukraine’s armed forces are poised to make Europe and the world much safer if they are given the machinery and support that can allow them to succeed. We mark this anniversary with heavy hearts and hopeful eyes to the future. We continue to stand united behind Ukraine.” – McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas 

“Ukraine has unwaveringly stood up to the face of Russia’s brazen aggression this past year, epitomizing the definition of fighting for causes greater than themselves – they have fought for their freedom and democracy with the severe sacrifice of human cost. The United States and our NATO allies must continue to push back on Vladimir Putin’s inexcusable assault on a sovereign nation. We must continue to support the people of Ukraine for our shared values of democracy to triumph over his authoritarian brutality before it extends any further.” – Former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte

“This past year showed what the United States and our allies are capable of when we stand up to autocrats. Whether in Europe or Asia, our adversaries should know that military action that threatens the security and sovereignty of other democracies will be met by a serious, unified, and comprehensive response from the West.  The measures taken by NATO and its global partners in the months leading up to this gruesome anniversary demonstrate how committed we are in this regard to the courageous people of Ukraine. There is much more we all can and should do to strengthen NATO and enable Ukraine’s ultimate victory, and that begins with continued American leadership undergirded by bipartisan support here at home.  After all, Ukraine is fighting the growing scourge of autocracy that ultimately affects our ideals, our prosperity, and our security if we allow Russia’s illegal transgression to stand.”— Former U.S. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper

“A year ago, many news reports in the West predicted a quick Russian victory over Ukraine. Those reports were wrong, Vladimir Putin was wrong, and skeptics in the West were wrong. Ukrainians have demonstrated resolve, a great grasp of strategy, and a willingness to sacrifice. As we enter the second year of this conflict, Ukraine has regained parts of its territory from the Russian Army, and they have satisfied every condition the West has submitted to gain its support. This war must end in a victory for the people of Ukraine and it will if we stick with them. That victory will also be a victory for freedom and the rule of law, in other words for us and the rest of the world.” – Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman 

“Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack the sovereign people of Ukraine has had disastrous consequences, unleashing unspeakable tragedy and human suffering in Ukraine and around the world. From the brutality of Russian war crimes and attacks on civilians to the food crisis triggered by his naval blockade, Putin’s attempt to prevent an independent Ukraine from flourishing—or even existing—has had a wide and cascading impact. The United States and Europe should continue to support the Ukrainian defenders and provide relief for all those affected, including the millions of refugees displaced by Putin’s aggression.” – Elisa Massimino, Director of the Human Rights Institute at Georgetown University Law Center

“My dad saw the true Vladimir Putin long before the rest of the world witnessed the depths of his evil. He also believed in the strength and bravery of the Ukrainian people in the face of encroaching autocracy and tyranny. It is my hope that the United States and our allies continue to supply the Ukrainian Armed Forces with the resources they need to repel Vladimir Putin’s invading army. We must also provide comfort and aid to Ukrainian refugees whose lives were upended by indiscriminate Russian bombing. As my father did, I stand with the people of Ukraine and look forward to the day when Ukraine is free and safe.”— Jack McCain 

“As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters year two, we will see stronger, better equipped, more formidable Ukrainian forces.  This will be due in large measure, of course, to the extraordinary determination, professionalism, initiative, and courage of Ukraine’s men and women in uniform fighting for their country’s very survival.  But it will also be due to the extraordinary support provided by the United States, other NATO countries, and western nations around the world.  Ukrainians have earned our support, mobilizing admirably in their war of independence, fighting to preserve their democracy and economy in the face of the brutal invasion by the kleptocratic Russian regime.  Nonetheless, Vladimir Putin still believes that Russia can out-suffer the Ukrainians, Europeans, and Americans.  We must help Ukraine prove him wrong, enabling Ukrainians to show the Kremlin that the war in Ukraine is unsustainable on the battlefield for Russia –and also tightening sanctions and export controls to show the Kremlin that the war is unsustainable in Russia’s homeland, as well.  At such a time, we should hear the echoes of the values and ideals John McCain championed and continue to counter Russian aggression by supporting the people of Ukraine and democracy around the world.” – General David Petraeus, U.S. Army (Ret.), former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, NATO/U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and former Director of the CIA 

“The Ukrainian people have endured enough suffering from Vladimir Putin’s aggression. As we mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and our allies must remember our promise to protect sovereign, democratic nations from authoritarian terror. John McCain warned us of Putin’s motives years ago, and today America sends a clear message that our support for Ukraine will not waver.” – Former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Townsend

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University
The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs advance democracy and human rights, empower character-driven leaders, combat human trafficking, and prevent targeted violence. What makes us different is our unique convening power of global leaders from across the political spectrum, which positions us at the center of the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a world that is free, safe, and just for all.

About Arizona State University
Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

Publish Date
February 23, 2023