Fitzpatrick, who used to live in Ukraine as an FBI agent, is going on a bipartisan trip to Poland to assess the Russian invasion
A bipartisan congressional delegation is heading to Poland Friday to get as close to the Russia-Ukraine war as safely possible and to see firsthand what is needed to help the Ukrainian people.
The delegation is made up of Democrats and Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a united front to condemn the brutal war launched by Russia and to stand in support of the Ukrainian people.
The trip is especially meaningful for Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., who lived in Ukraine when he was an FBI agent. He worked with Ukrainian law enforcement and government on anti-corruption, cyber security and counterintelligence efforts to counter Russia.
“This is personal to me. These are my friends over there,” Fitzpatrick told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“The Ukrainians are showing the world why they should have been in the EU (European Union) a long time ago (and) why they should have been in NATO a long time ago,” Fitzpatrick said.
“The world is seeing the courage of Ukraine and Ukrainian people right now.”
The lawmakers want to ensure the military equipment the U.S. and allies have provided is effectively making it into Ukrainian hands and to assess the humanitarian needs – such as food, water and energy resources. There’s a large influx of Ukrainian refugees crossing into Poland to escape the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and they will need assistance.
The lawmakers will also be investigating potential war crimes that have been committed by Putin, Fitzpatrick said.
This is beyond war. This is terrorism,” Fitzpatrick said, noting the Russian attack on the largest nuclear plant in Europe. “Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. Everybody’s always known that.”
The delegation is planning to stay in the region through Monday and Fitzpatrick hopes he may be able to cross into Ukraine.
“I will go as far into that territory as they will allow me to go,” Fitzpatrick said of the military escorts coordinating the trip.
“I’d go to Kyiv if they let me,” he said.
The trip is also expected to include Republican Reps. Michael McCaul of Texas and Ann Wagner of Missouri and Democratic Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Gerry Connolly of Virginia.
The delegation is planning to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has been traveling in the region, Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, national and local and Polish officials and Ukrainian civil society activists, according to Connolly’s office.
They’ll also receive briefings from the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division and visit with U.S. service members.
“I want to let the Ukrainian refugees know the American people stand with them against Putin’s evil,” McCaul said. “I will continue to urge this administration to send more lethal assistance to the brave Ukrainian people fighting for their freedom.”
McCaul and other Republicans have been frustrated with what they believe is too slow of a U.S. response, on everything from sanctions to cutting off Russian oil imports.
“The free world needs America to lead,” Fitzpatrick said. “We can’t be in a situation where Canada is the first to block Russian oil imports, and then we follow suit. We can’t have a situation where the UK and the EU are the first ones to sanction Vladimir Putin personally, and then we follow suit.
“We’re supposed to be the leader here.”