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Capito Among Senators Headed To Poland

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., speaks as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, right, testifies before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022, to examine expanding broadband access, focusing on the Department of Commerce broadband programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

CHARLESTON – U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Thursday that she was joining congressional colleagues for a trip to Poland and Germany to gain a better understanding of the unfolding refugee crisis as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its fourth week.

Capito, R-W.Va., announced the trip to members of the West Virginia press Thursday during a virtual briefing from Capitol Hill.

“I will be leaving later this afternoon to go on a congressional delegation trip to Poland and Germany to see first-hand and talk to NATO officials and all talk to our military,” Capito said. “We’ll also talk about the humanitarian efforts with more than two million people leaving (Ukraine). I’m looking forward to that.”

Capito will be part of a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. Senators making the trip. Other senators attending include: Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; Susan Collins, R-Maine; John Cornyn, R-Texas; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Angus King, I-Maine; Roger Marshall, R-Kan.; Jerry Moran, R-Kan.; and Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

“When we get back on Monday, we’ll certainly have some news on what occurred there and what my perceptions are of what is going on,” Capito said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed members of Congress via video livestream, urging lawmakers to support a no-fly zone over the country to discourage Russian bombardment and provide protection to fleeing Ukrainian civilians. He also called for further economic sanctions against Russia, more arms and more support. Capito attended the briefing.

“I did hear President Zelenskyy’s remarks. Very powerful,” Capito said. “The video he played was tough to watch. I think it really framed out the human tragedy that is occurring in the beautiful country and those beautiful cities. He implored us to do more, help more. He wants the no-fly zone. He wants the MiGs. He wants the drones. He wants whatever he can get to keep defending his country. I think we came out pretty resolved there.”

President Joe Biden also announced Wednesday the U.S. would provide Ukraine with an additional $800 million in security assistance, bringing the U.S. financial commitment to Ukraine since Biden took office in 2021 to more than $2 billion. The additional funds will cover Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin light armor weapons, Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems and more.

Capito said she was thankful that the U.S. was providing unmanned drones and other arms and support, but she expressed frustration that a proposed deal for Poland to send its MiG fighter aircraft to Ukraine and for the U.S. to replace those Polish planes with F-16s did not pan out.

“I’m frustrated that (Biden) hasn’t found a way to give the MiGs to the Ukrainians,” Capito said. “I think that is extremely important. They know how to fly them. They know how to deploy them. But I thought it was good news that the President announced that a lot of our drones would be going over there. They can be quite effective.”

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