U.S. Rep. Susan Wild on Ukraine invasion: ‘This is about real people’

Written by on February 24, 2022

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild on Ukraine invasion: ‘This is about real people’

By Tyler Pratt
February 24, 2022

As Russia attacked Ukraine with airstrikes and ground forces, the Lehigh Valley’s congresswoman told a group of Allentown residents Wednesday night she doesn’t support sending U.S. troops into the conflict.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, hosted a town hall at Cedar Crest College not long before the first explosions could be heard rocking several parts of Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv.

Listen to the story.

Russian troops late Wednesday launched a wide-ranging attack, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”

Wild said she is watching closely what she called a “grave” situation.

“It’s literally the buffer between Russia and Europe and we shouldn’t underestimate Russia’s power,” Wild said.

She said it’s “critical” that the U.S. support NATO.

“Fortunately, I think the NATO allies are working really, really well together and are supporting Ukraine, which is not a NATO country, as best we can …”

Wild said the U.S. does have soldiers in nearby nations.

“We’re on the ground. We’ve got troops in Poland, troops in Germany,” Wild said. “These troops are there to support those countries and their military. They’re not being placed there for the purpose of being sent into Ukraine.”

Wild said her 7th Congressional District is home to one of the largest Ukrainian-American populations in the country. 

“It’s a vibrant community.” Wild said. I’ve gotten to know a number of them and they have family in Ukraine, so this is about real people.”

Wild said a number of Ukrainian-American constituents have said they are concerned for their families.

“I will tell you almost uniformly that I have heard from them that they are pleased with the [sanctions] the administration has taken,” Wild said.

Wild said she also supports the Biden administration’s current course of action. She issued a prepared statement Thursday that hailed the resilience of Ukrainians and said, in part:

“Time and again, Ukrainians have had to defend their freedom. For my Ukrainian American constituents, and for me, this latest threat to them is not an abstract discussion about geopolitics—the lives of their relatives are at stake. I stand in solidarity with them, as does the entire greater Lehigh Valley community.

“… (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, his fellow oligarchs, and their families must pay the steepest possible financial and political costs for this catastrophic decision.

“Together with our allies and partners, we will make sure that Putin comes to regret initiating this war. We will hold him accountable, and we will support the Ukrainian people as they defend their homeland against aggression.”

Wild said Thursday that the House Foreign Affairs Committee started a text thread about next steps.

“We don’t want to get out in front of the administration ,” Wild said in Easton, on a housing tour with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “I think the administration’s been handling it beautifully but we want to be there to work with the administration to make sure we are doing everything we possibly can.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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