September 17, 2021
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement today after the Russian Federation concluded Zapad, its largest military exercise that takes place every four years:
“Putin has twice before used the Zapad exercise—simulating a Russian fight with NATO—to set the stage for invasions: Georgia in 2008 and Crimea in 2014. The stakes are even higher this year as Putin, ever the opportunist, might believe America is too distracted by Afghanistan to pay attention. We can’t take our eye off the ball. Deterrence is achieved by demonstrating our resolve to defend our allies and partners in Eastern Europe; we’ve learned it is far less costly to prevent Russian aggression than respond to it.
“We are moving in the right direction by approving additional emergency military aid to Ukraine — but we can and must do more. The Senate Armed Services Committee markup of the NDAA increases Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding by an additional $50 million, for a total of $300 million, because my colleagues and I recognized that President Biden’s request was simply not enough.
“The Biden administration must uphold our commitment to deliver capabilities, especially lethal assistance, to deter Russian aggression. The 2018 National Defense Strategy rightly demands robust and targeted security assistance to nations on the front lines of great power competition who daily absorb the brunt of Putin’s provocations. If America is to maintain credibility as the security partner of choice with our allies and partners, this support is absolutely critical.”