By Seth Moulton
We’re now more than a month into this terrible, illegal war. The international community has leveled an unprecedented regime of sanctions on the Russian economy. The U.S. is sending hundreds of millions of dollars in additional military and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians. Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing, but he is leaving a wake of war crimes and destruction in his path.
My team is monitoring your calls and emails. I want to share some of the actions I have taken since my last update and answer some of the questions we’ve been receiving.
Actions I’ve Taken Recently
- Wrote and introduced the bipartisan Yachts for Ukraine Act that takes the seized assets of Russian oligarchs and top government officials to use for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
- Signed on to a letter urging the Biden Administration to do more to help alleviate the Ukrainian refugee crisis
- Congress passed $13.6 billion in emergency military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.
- Voted yes to ban Russian oil and gas imports and suspend normal trade relations with Russia.
- I spend hours every week in classified briefings on the situation, shaping and influencing our response.
- My district office staff is helping constituents with visa and immigration issues relating to Ukraine. Contact us at 978-531-1669 or moulton.house.gov to request assistance.
Questions and Answers
Why won’t the U.S. establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine?
The scenes of Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians – outright war crimes, like the targeting of the Mariupol Theater and the horrible violence committed in Bucha – are heart-wrenching, and I wish we could do more to stop them outright. But there are two major problems with a no-fly zone.
First, even a “limited” no-fly zone would require American pilots to shoot down Russian planes. This would almost certainly draw the U.S. into a larger war with Russia. That’s what Putin wants and what NATO has been working hard to avoid.
Second, much of the damage done to Ukrainian cities comes not from Russian planes but from Russian rockets and artillery. A no-fly zone doesn’t stop rockets or artillery shells.
A much better approach is arming the Ukrainians with good anti-aircraft weapons to effectively keep Russian jets and helicopters out of the sky, which is exactly what we are doing. And it’s having a great effect. Russia still does not control the skies over Ukraine.
Why should I have to tolerate even higher gas prices?
First, let’s be clear: The price of gas skyrocketed when Russia started this illegal war. Putin is to blame for this, nobody else.
Cutting off Russian oil and gas has undoubtedly raised prices further, but I wholeheartedly support these sanctions and so do the vast majority of Americans. We should not be financing Putin’s war machine by buying Russian gas.
President Joe Biden recently announced that the U.S. would release millions of barrels of oil from our strategic reserve. This will help alleviate higher gas prices.
But as long as we are tied to oil, we will be tied to the price of oil set by foreigners who govern the volatile international oil market. We should not be beholden to any foreign power for the basic resources to power our vehicles and heat our homes. We need to wean ourselves off our addiction to oil because, as this war demonstrates, it ties our hands and weakens our national security.
Would reviving the Keystone Pipeline help?
Our long-term plan must be to stop using fossil fuels, but in the meantime, we should be buying what we need from Americans, not from autocrats.
Massachusetts has been one of the worst offenders. That is a direct result of our failure to expand pipeline access into our region, something that I supported against local protests because it was the right thing to do – both for our national security and our local economic security.
It was also the right call for our planet because Russian gas fields are environmental disasters.
I hear a lot that we should be building the Keystone XL pipeline, but that project would not be completed in the near future and it would not make a difference in this current crisis. In fact, the Keystone XL pipeline was designed for Canadian corporations to export fuel overseas, not for U.S. consumption.
Far better long-term solutions include solar and nuclear power, which only depend on American innovation to set their price and are completely carbon free. The pipelines we need to address regional shortfalls in the meantime could be converted to hydrogen before long.
Where do we go from here?
The situation is changing rapidly and we continue to adjust our response. Sadly, I expect the war to continue for some time. There are no easy answers, but here are my current areas of focus:
- Continue to arm Ukraine with the right equipment to defend their country.
- Bolster U.S. information operations to communicate the truth to the Russian people about the realities of this needless and illegal war.
- Find points of leverage and potential bargaining chips for Putin to eventually bring this to an end.
- Support humanitarian relief efforts and welcoming Ukrainian refugees to the United States.
- Push for carbon-free power and transportation (largely available with existing technology) to bring down gas price volatility and oil dependency in the long run.
How is the U.S. delivering humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians and how can I help?
Visit www.usaid.gov/usaid-response-ukraine and www.state.gov/united-with-ukraine/ to learn how to help.