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McCain Institute’s Evelyn Farkas Attends Kyiv Security Forum in Ukraine

Dr. Farkas reflects on Ukraine’s dire need for additional U.S. aid, calls for further NATO deterrence.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 26, 2024) – Dr. Evelyn Farkas, executive director of The McCain Institute at Arizona State University (ASU), traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, to speak among top international security and foreign policy experts at the Kyiv Security Forum, March 21-22, on the topics of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the United States’ role in the conflict.

Dr. Farkas participated in two panels, “Ukraine at the Front Lines,” and “Flagship in a Storm,” where she discussed the unpredictability of Putin, the importance of military deterrence, and the 2024 U.S. presidential election and its impacts on Ukraine aid.

“I am worried that [Putin] might try to test [North Atlantic Treaty] article 5 any day,” said McCain Institute Executive Director Dr. Evelyn Farkas. “I am worried that in the run-up to the NATO Summit, he might do something disruptive, but maybe even worse… not just against Ukraine… but that he might take action against a NATO ally to probe, to test us.”

Dr. Farkas also emphasized the role of NATO in deterring Russia.

“I worry that we don’t have sufficient deterrence in place right now,” said Dr. Farkas. “There’s no reason why we couldn’t have NATO forces in the western part of Ukraine; that’s military deterrence, we rely on that in many places… we need to show greater political will in order to strengthen our overall deterrence.”

While in Ukraine, Dr. Farkas met with top current and former Ukrainian officials, including the foreign minister, heads of foreign military intelligence agencies, the minister of infrastructure, the deputy minister of defense, senior opposition parliamentary leaders, journalists, and U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink.

Barrages of Russian missiles hit civilian targets in Ukraine throughout the conference in Kyiv, Odesa, Kherson, Dnipro, and Zaporizhzia. Air raid sirens sent conference participants into a bomb shelter on the mornings of March 20 and 21, where they conducted the morning panel discussions. The attacks on Kyiv were intercepted by air defense systems, with damage and injuries caused by falling debris.

When speaking with media in Ukraine, Dr. Farkas was resolute: “In short, the military situation on the land front is dire – without U.S. assistance, the Ukrainians may have to withdraw further and certainly take more casualties.” Watch her interviews with CNN International’s Amanpour, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, BBC’s World News America, and MSNBC’s José Díaz-Balart from Ukraine.


Senator McCain was tireless in his support for Ukraine and visited many times to oppose Putin and demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people. McCain stated in a 2014 interview, “The West must do whatever it can to support Ukrainian patriots. Ukraine’s fight is our fight, too.”

Publish Date
March 26, 2024