Ukrainian lawmaker expresses 'total disappointment' with Biden
President Joe Biden talked tough in Tuesday’s State of the Union speech about punishing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but at least some viewers in Kiev were upset about what they didn’t hear.
“I think the whole [of] Ukraine was watching Biden’s speech last night,” Ukrainian parliament member Oleksandra Ustinova said on Wednesday in an NBC News interview. “To be honest, it was a total disappointment for us...”
Biden threatened to impose more economic sanctions on Russia and President Vladimir Putin. However, to the chagrin of many Ukrainians, the commander-in-chief reiterated that US military forces won’t be deployed in the former Soviet republic.
Ustinova suggested that by refusing to create a no-fly zone, defending Ukrainians against Russian airstrikes, the US and other Western powers are failing to provide the protection that was pledged when Kiev gave up its nuclear arsenal after the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse.
“The right definition is an execution because we see bombs going into our civilian houses every day,” the lawmaker claimed. “We see children dying every day on the streets or in their houses if they didn’t make it to the bomb shelter, we see bombs coming to the orphanages, to the schools. And we had been promised protection by the international community.”
Sanctions against Russia and military aid from the West aren’t preventing Ukrainians from being killed, Ustinova argued. “We are grateful for help, but we need protection in our sky,” she said. “We have been protecting ourselves on the ground, but if we do not protect our sky… we will all go down.”
Ustinova, who has served in parliament since 2019, questioned how far Putin will have to go for the US and NATO to respond militarily. She added that even NATO members in Eastern Europe can’t count on the bloc to defend them.
“Frankly speaking, I don’t think NATO will be protecting Poland or the Baltic countries when Putin invades,” Ustinova said. “They will be saying it was a provocation from these countries because we had been promised the same thing.”
Russia launched a large-scale military offensive in Ukraine last week, proclaiming the need to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the country, as well as to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weaponry, an idea recently floated by top Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Moscow claimed that the offensive was the only option left to end the bloodshed in the east of Ukraine and prevent Kiev from launching an all-out assault on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev rejected such allegations, insisting it had not planned to retake the breakaway regions by force and saying the invasion was unprovoked.