Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, joined her colleagues for a press conference following their bipartisan delegation visit to Germany and Poland this weekend. During the press conference, the senators discussed their engagements with top military leaders amid Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The delegation was led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). Additionally, Gillibrand was joined by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Angus King (I-ME), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV).
“Our trip to Poland and Germany provided invaluable insight into how we can support the people of Ukraine and our NATO allies during this global and humanitarian crisis. President Putin has invaded Ukraine without any provocation and the world must remain united as Ukrainians fight for their freedom and independence from an autocratic government,” said Senator Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. “We must remember that the role of our military in this moment is to assure our allies that we are committed to the region and to deter Russian actions that widen this brutal war. Ukrainians don’t want to just survive this conflict, they want to win this war against Russia and we must remain resolved in our resiliency against this unjustified attack.”
The bipartisan delegation engaged with military leaders from United States Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) in Wiesbaden, Germany about the United States’ and NATO alliance’s commitment to protecting freedom against authoritarian governments.
From there, the delegation met with U.S. officials in Berlin at the U.S. Embassy to get an up-to-date brief on American-German long-term economic and security cooperation goals.
In Berlin, the group of bipartisan senators discussed our continued security partnership with German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Andreas Michaelis. The members met with German parliamentarians over dinner in Berlin.
The next day, the senators had a security briefing with leaders from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed in Poland and learned more about their effort to assist and deter Russia from further aggression. The military leaders then led a roundtable discussion with the senators, and non-government organizations (NGOs) helping with the humanitarian needs in Ukraine and throughout Europe.
The delegation then visited a refugee processing center near the Ukrainian-Polish border where they saw firsthand how organizations are working with the Polish military and government to care for Ukrainians who’ve fled their homes. Included in the visit was a meeting with volunteers from World Central Kitchen who are helping feed the refugees coming through this facility.
The final stop in Poland was a discussion with members of Ukrainian civil society. This included a group of passionate women who provided a clear message to the senators: Ukraine needs more support to win this fight. Included in the meeting were State Department officials originally stationed at Embassy Kyiv who continue to provide services to Americans leaving Ukraine and representing the U.S. government’s interests under extraordinary circumstances.
On the last day of the CODEL, the 10 senators visited a U.S. Army base in Grafenwöhr, Germany. They received a firsthand briefing on the military mission, Senator Gillibrand was able to meet with many New Yorkers training in Germany, and saw the might of the U.S. Army in action.
The bipartisan CODEL returned to the United States late on Sunday, March 20.