Stand firm in support of U.S. policy in Ukraine

Most Americans still support Ukraine in its war against Russian aggression, though support has declined because of the massive price tag of U.S. aid.

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President Joe Biden walks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Monday, Feb. 20.

Evan Vucci/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

This Friday will mark the somber one-year anniversary of the war between Russia and Ukraine, and our fervent hope is that the world won’t mark the same grim milestone in 2024.

Since the war began with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of its much-smaller neighbor on Feb. 24, 2022, an estimated 200,000 soldiers on both sides have been killed, along with up to 40,000 civilians. Millions of refugees have fled Ukraine, mostly to other countries in Europe but also in smaller numbers to the U.S.— including an estimated 25,000 here in Illinois. (Chicago has the second-largest Ukrainian community in the U.S.)

As a nation and a city, we should welcome refugees fleeing war and its destruction. But ultimately, ending the war so that refugees can return is the best way to help those forced to abandon their homes.

President Joe Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday make it clear that U.S. policy remains one of “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine, as the president said. Biden walked the streets of Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and later announced an additional $500 million in military aid to the country, which we support.

Editorial

Editorial

When the war began last year, this editorial board wrote in favor of providing military aid so that democratic Ukraine would have a fighting chance against an invading dictator trying to resurrect a dead Soviet empire. To that end, Biden pulled together an international coalition, which for a year has held firm against Putin’s bullying.

We still support that goal: forcing Putin out of Ukraine. You need not be a foreign policy expert to understand that appeasing a dictator — shrugging our shoulders and saying, essentially, “just let Putin have Ukraine” — is the wrong move, morally and politically.

Polls have consistently shown that most Americans agree, though not surprisingly, support has declined because of the massive price tag of U.S. aid.

A majority — 54% — of Americans surveyed in an international Ipsos poll from January said they favored providing weapons and air-defense systems to Ukraine, while larger percentages — two-thirds to almost three-fourths — favored measures such as taking in refugees, imposing stringent economic sanctions and excluding Russian athletes from international competitions until Russia leaves Ukraine. The percentages were similar among survey respondents from other nations.

If the world remains united, maybe, with luck, the war in Ukraine will never reach a second anniversary.

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