Trahan urges more support for Ukraine following trip | News

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BOSTON — U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan is urging continued U.S. support for the military and humanitarian efforts to war-torn Ukraine following a visit to the region.

Trahan, D-Westford, was part of a bipartisan delegation of House lawmakers who traveled to Eastern Europe over the weekend to learn about the military and humanitarian efforts underway in the region amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Trahan, who characterized the weeklong trip as a fact-finding mission, said she visited a train station in Poland, where refugees fleeing Ukraine are getting assistance from aid groups. She said she met with officials from international relief agencies and spoke with Ukrainian refugees who fled the fighting.

“Ukrainians fleeing for their lives over the past three weeks has been difficult to watch, but being on the ground and seeing it up close is truly heartbreaking,” Trahan said in an interview. “These people are showing up with nothing but the clothes on their back and a rollaway suitcase, and many are traumatized.”

More than 3.5 million refugees fled to Poland and other neighboring countries to escape the fighting, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency.

The delegation, which included U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-South Boston, and five other lawmakers, also met with diplomats from several countries and members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne, which is attached to NATO forces defending Eastern Europe.

Congress recently approved a $13.6 billion emergency aid bill to help refugees and provide military aid and equipment to Ukrainian soldiers.

Trahan said Ukrainians and officials the delegation spoke with are thankful for U.S. assistance and said it’s crucial the military and humanitarian aid continues to flow.

“Putin’s cruel and immoral war has had consequences many of us could never fathom, and nobody knows where he will go next,” she said. “The world has an obligation to be here to support these incredibly brave Ukrainians doing everything in their power to defend their freedom and democracy.”

The House delegation also visited Romania and was expected to make a stop in at least one other NATO country before returning by the end of the week.

President Joe Biden heads to Europe on Wednesday to attend a last-minute emergency meeting of NATO leaders in Brussels to discuss the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden’s trip comes amid pressure to do more for Ukraine from European allies and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The president also expected to announce a new round of sanctions targeting members of Russia’s parliament who supported the Ukraine invasion.

At the summit, Biden will “discuss the ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine as well as to reaffirm our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies,” the White House said in a statement.

Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at cwade@northofboston.com.

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