I’m grateful to our Congressmember Salud Carbajal for supporting military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. I urge him to continue to support both.
I grew up in Santa Barbara but have spent the last six years living in Ukraine. Russia’s invasion forced my family to relocate — and we were the fortunate ones. My wife’s family is from Mariupol. While I grew up celebrating my childhood birthday parties at Goleta Beach, my wife spent her childhood enjoying the beaches around Mariupol. The difference is that, while I can still return to bring my little son to Thousand Steps to explore the tidepools, the beaches in Mariupol are now a mined wasteland, my wife’s childhood home is a pile of rubble, and many of her friends and family are dead.
The military aid that the United States provides is essential in preventing the mass death and war crimes that occurred in Mariupol and other cities from becoming the horrific reality for millions of other Ukrainians.
Negotiations can only succeed when both sides are ready to come to the table. Sadly, Putin is not yet ready to negotiate. Pressing Ukraine to negotiate in lieu of providing military assistance is to ask them to make one-sided concessions to an evil dictator who is bent on their destruction. If Santa Barbara were being destroyed, would we really ask our military to stand back and tell our government to negotiate with Putin in the hopes that he would voluntarily withdraw?