Former Vice President Mike Pence made an unannounced visit to Ukraine on Thursday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He is set to visit the Ukrainian cities and villages of Irpin, Bucha, and Moshchun.
Pence is running for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and he has openly supported US involvement in Ukraine since the conflict began in early 2022.
Pence has split with the two GOP frontrunners on US involvement in Ukraine, with former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suggesting it is not in the interest of the US to continue supporting Ukraine through military aid, per The Hill.
In a recent interview with NBC News, Pence said that he “believe[s] America’s the leader of the free world. But coming here [Ukraine] just as a private citizen – being able to really see firsthand the heroism of the Ukrainian soldiers holding the line in those woods, see the heroism of the people here in Irpin that held back the Russian army, to see families whose homes were literally shelled in the midst of an unconscionable and unprovoked Russian invasion – just steels my resolve to do my part, to continue to call for strong American support for our Ukrainian friends and allies.”
In February, Pence not only claimed that the US should be involved in the Ukraine conflict, but he suggested that the US and its allies needed to “accelerate the pace of military provisions,” noting this should be carried out “until victory is achieved.” Pence’s sentiment echoed that of President Joe Biden, who, in December 2022, suggested that he would support the Eastern European country for “as long as it takes,” following Zelensky’s comment that US aid up to that point was “not enough.”
However, Pence has criticized President Biden for not being quick enough in offering aid to Ukraine. On June 27, the US Department of Defense announced it was sending $500 million to Ukraine in their fight with Russia. At the time of this writing, the US has provided Ukraine with tens of billions of taxpayer dollars for the conflict.
In April, it was reported that Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials had reportedly embezzled $400 million of US funding in what was supposed to be used for the purchase of diesel.
Earlier this month, the New York Times conceded that Nazi symbols had been discovered “with some regularity” on the uniforms of Ukrainian soldiers fighting against the Russians, noting that some international figures have avoided mentioning this detail for fears that it would fuel “Russian propaganda.”Pence is currently sitting in third place in the GOP primary polls, far behind Trump and DeSantis.
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