Press Release

Welch Statement on the Second Anniversary of Russia’s Latest Invasion of Ukraine

Feb 23, 2024

BURLINGTON, VT – Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) released the following statement in advance of Saturday’s observance of the second anniversary of Russia’s unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022: 

“Since Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February 2022, and going back to the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukrainians have courageously defended their sovereignty, fought for their territory, and died protecting their democracy and their children’s future.  The humanitarian and economic support, weapons, ammunition, and other materiel provided by the United States and our European allies have enabled Ukraine’s defenders to thwart the advance of Putin’s army. The bravery and sacrifice of the Ukrainian people has inspired the world, and as the Russians’ capture of Avdiivka illustrates, Ukraine desperately needs our continued unwavering support.

“This week also punctuates the 10-year anniversary of the Maidan Revolution when tens of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets in support of their Constitution, their country, and their connection with Europe. The spirit of the Maidan continues unabated, and it underpins Kyiv’s resilience and determination.

“Yet the costs of Putin’s war are staggering: Tens of thousands of Ukrainians have died, as have hundreds of thousands of Russians, many forced into military service. And this week we mourn the shocking murder of Alexei Navalny, whose vision for a free and prosperous Russia inspired millions. Our hearts go out to his family, and our thoughts are with the other Russian prisoners of conscience, journalists, and others languishing in Putin’s cold, desolate prisons. 

“It is now our collective responsibility—Russians, Americans, Ukrainians, and people everywhere who believe in freedom, democracy, and peace, to continue what Navalny gave his life for, undeterred by Putin’s brutality.  

“The American people and much of the world owe their freedom to the sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands who gave their lives eighty years ago on the beaches of Normandy and in Europe to defeat Hitler’s army, and to the many back home who rallied to support them. Putin’s attempt to recapture Ukraine brings back those memories—of how much is at stake and of how the American people responded, united in their determination to support those on the front lines who were facing death thousands of miles from home. 

“Putin’s imperialist attempt to redraw internationally recognized borders by force brings back the memories of World War II, and his attempt must be stopped. The security of Europe is ultimately inseparable from Ukraine’s security. America’s security is inseparable from Europe’s security. The security of Ukraine and Europe, and the future of NATO, depend on strong leadership from the U.S. We must act together urgently to provide Ukraine the support it needs to show Putin that he cannot win this war.”