37.4 C
Saturday, July 13, 2024

Viktor Liakh. $60 Billion Assistance to Ukraine, Mike Johnson’s Father and Ukrainian Firefighters and Rescuers: what’s in common?

Victor Liakh President of East Europe Foundation

Let me tell you an almost detective story about how we (hopefully!) reached the approval of nearly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine by the US Senate. The document has already been signed by Joe Biden (hurray!), so I can share some insights.

The role of Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, was pivotal in this process, and there were numerous discussions as to why Mr. Johnson did not bring the package of bills on aid to Ukraine to a vote. This assistance is eagerly awaited by our soldiers, partners, government, and society as a whole.

Therefore, the persuasion of the Speaker involved everyone: from Presidents Biden and Zelensky, congressmen, Ukrainian diplomats, allied partners, American intelligence — to East Europe Foundation along with Ukrainian volunteer firefighters 🙂

Back in February, Melinda Haring, the Chair of the Foundation’s Board, called and said, “Victor, we’re racking our brains here in Washington on how to convince Mike Johnson to put the package of bills to a vote. We have an idea!”

It turned out that Mike Johnson’s father, James Patrick (“Pat”) Johnson, was a firefighter who founded the non-profit organization “The Percy R. Johnson Burn Foundation,” named after his partner, the city’s first African-American fire instructor and captain, who tragically lost his life while on duty. Mike Johnson’s father also suffered serious burns and became disabled as a result of the same fire while on duty.

In turn, East Europe Foundation closely collaborates with the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU), which has been doing an incredible job in mitigating the consequences of enemy attacks, fires, mine threats, and more since the beginning of the full-scale Russia Invasion. By the way, the Foundation helped modernize the training center in Kyiv for volunteer rescuers, where they hone their skills. So, we thought it would be a good idea for Mike Johnson, the son of a respected firefighter, to hear from these committed rescuers who have devoted their lives to saving others.

The letter was written by the public union “Firefighters and Rescuers of Ukraine” on behalf of Igor Hasek, the organization’s chairman. In the letter, particularly, the following words are included: “As you well know, there is a brotherhood of firefighters that runs across geographic borders. It is a brotherhood forged together by one simple truth: we run in when everyone else runs out. As Ukraine fights for its life, Americans have chosen to run in time and again. We are counting on you to run in again.”

The letter was accompanied by a helmet worn by one of the Ukrainian firefighters who was injured during a fire, along with a patch of the public union.

It is unknown what prompted Mike Johnson to radically change his mind and ultimately propose his own voting strategy for aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. I believe this will remain as unknown as the true reasons that hindered him from doing so from the very beginning. We only hope that our joint efforts towards this end were also helpful.

In fact, this text can be concluded with the words of Johnson himself, quoted by The New York Times from his statement to journalists in the Capitol last week: “History judges us for what we do. This is a critical time right now. I could make a selfish decision and do something that’s different. But I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important.”

Thank you, Mr. Johnson! And thanks to all involved who have also done and continue to do what they believe is right. I believe this brings us closer to Victory!

The role of Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House,

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Останнє на сайті