EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Roger Wicker said the Biden administration has “failed” to clearly communicate the critical interest the U.S. has in supporting Ukraine in its war with Russia, and that Congress will continue “rigorous” oversight of the over $26.7 billion in military aid contributed to the effort.
According to excerpts of his first floor speech as Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member first obtained by Fox News Digital, Wicker, R-Miss., plans to state the high importance of making clear the United States’ interest in Ukraine.
“As the first anniversary of this war approaches, we should reflect on the progress made by Ukraine and consider how to help them decisively win this conflict so that a lasting peace can take root,” the excerpts read. “To do so, we first need to state clearly what our American interests are in Ukraine. That is something the president and his advisors have repeatedly failed to do, choosing instead to make vague references to the ‘rules-based international order.’”
“We will continue to maintain and expand the rigorous oversight structure we have placed over military aid,” the excerpts continued. “As of today, Congress has imposed more than two dozen separate, detailed oversight requirements on the Biden administration, and we continue to monitor their responses closely.”
“If we make the right choices, we can ensure a Ukrainian victory over Russia, send a message of strength to China and others who wish us ill, and restore the United States as the world’s Arsenal of Democracy.”
Wicker’s floor speech comes the day after President Biden on Wednesday approved the delivery of 31 Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine, just hours after German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz said Ukraine would also receive Leopard 2 tanks from Berlin as Russia plans for a major offensive.
The president, joined by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, described the vehicles as the “most capable tanks in the world” and said they “will enhance Ukraine’s ability” on the battlefield.
Biden said Western aid to Ukraine “is not an offensive threat to Russia.”
The Pentagon announced last week that it is sending an additional $2.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine, including 90 Stryker combat vehicles for the first time and another 59 Bradley fighting vehicles.
The U.S. has sent more than $26.7 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.
A senate aide told Fox News Digital that Congress is focused on delivering military aid to Ukraine as well as conducting careful oversight of every dollar.
Not only is it critical that the American people understand that every dollar advances national security, said the aide, it sends a strong signal to China that the U.S. invests in its allies.
Rebekah Koffler, president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” said that the start of 2023 means the beginning of the “hottest” phase of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Koffler, who is also a Fox News contributor, noted that last week, Russia announced “major changes” to strengthen its military, which she says is a sign that Moscow is “recasting” its approach in Ukraine.
“Vladimir Putin’s new strategy is focused on fighting a large-scale war rather than a ‘special military operation,'” Koffler said, which will most likely result in a permanent conflict in the European theater.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.