Attorney General Merrick Garland attended a conference in Ukraine on Friday at the invitation of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying that the result of the Ukraine-Russia war would have a “direct” impact on democracy in America.
Garland, the latest high-profile Biden administration official to visit Ukraine, spoke at the “United For Justice Conference” in Lviv, where he discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a U.S. investigation into possible Russian war crimes.
“Just over twelve months ago, invading Russian forces began committing atrocities at the largest scale in any armed conflict since the Second World War,” Garland, who did not announce his plan to attend the conference beforehand, said. “We are here today in Ukraine to speak clearly, and with one voice: the perpetrators of those crimes will not get away with them.”
Garland said the results of Ukraine’s war with Russia would have a “direct” influence on democracy in the U.S. “The United States recognizes that what happens here in Ukraine will have a direct impact on the strength of our own democracy,” he claimed.
According to the Justice Department, Garland also held several meetings with local officials while at the conference. Garland’s trip to Ukraine follows previous visits from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden, and a number of senators.
Friday’s visit was Garland’s second to the country — he had previously visited in July 2022 to announce investigations into alleged war crimes.
During Yellen’s trip last week, she met with Zelensky to discuss sanctions against Russia from the United States and its allies, reforms meant to address rampant corruption in Ukraine, and a $9.9 billion assistance package intended to assist the operations of the nation’s government, according to the Treasury Department.
“We have pledged to do our part to support the Ukrainian people, not only with words, but with actions. We will continue to work with our international coalition to provide military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. And we will continue to impose severe costs on the Kremlin for its illegal war. As President Biden has said, we will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Yellen said.
During the war, the U.S. has been the country most financially supportive of Ukraine, having pledged nearly $200 billion to the country in economic, humanitarian, and military aid. Some Republicans have sought to reduce the amount of spending going toward Ukraine with others calling for increased oversight of where the weapons are going.