Press Release

Gillibrand, Blackburn, And Smith Meet With Ukrainian Civil Society Leaders

Apr 7, 2022

Ukraine Civil Societty

Today, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Tina Smith (D-MN) met with leaders of Ukrainian civil society, Olena Tregub and Maria Berlinksa. Olena Tregub has an extensive career focusing on corruption prevention in Ukraine and since 2017, has served as a secretary general of NAKO (the Independent Defense Anti-Corruption Committee). Maria Berlinksa is a Ukrainian military volunteer and women’s rights advocate who volunteered for the War in Donbas as an aerial reconnaissance drone operator and who has championed women’s integration into the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Gillibrand and Moran had previously met with members of Ukrainian civil society in March on a bipartisan Senate delegation visit to Poland and Germany. The group discussed updates on the ongoing war and atrocities in Ukraine and additional U.S. government aid.

“The images and testimony revealing the ongoing atrocities in Ukraine are horrifying,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Hundreds of innocent civilians in Bucha have been killed at the hands of Putin and his generals, and they must be held accountable for their war crimes. I am grateful to Olena and Maria for their insight and expertise, and I will work to ensure that the U.S. continues providing defensive weaponry to our allies and leveling crushing sanctions that starve Putin’s war machine. As Americans, we remain united with the people of Ukraine in their fight for freedom.”

“Every day we hear more stories and receive sickening images of the atrocities committed by Russian troops against Ukrainians,” said Senator Moran. “I appreciate Olena and Maria meeting with us to share their own experiences and insight on how the United States can help the people of Ukraine. During my visit to Poland and at the Ukrainian border, I heard over and over that the aid we had promised wasn’t enough and needs to arrive faster. I recently called on the White House to expedite the delivery of weapons and aid to Ukraine and our allies so Ukraine can win this fight.”

“Ukrainian civil leaders Olena Tregub and Maria Berlinksa have demonstrated a fearless resolve to stand for freedom,” said Senator Blackburn. “They shared details about on the ground conditions and made it abundantly clear that the United States cannot waver in our support of Ukrainian people.”