Pingree Among First Members of Congress to Visit Moldova Amid Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine
Pingree described a ‘gut-wrenching’ scene at the Moldova border crossing, ~35 miles from Odessa, Ukraine. The bipartisan Congressional delegation trip to Eastern Europe continues through Thursday. Click here for photos of the group’s stop in Moldova.
MOLDOVA, March 23, 2022
Tags: Supporting Ukraine
MOLDOVA—On Wednesday, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and a bipartisan group of 6 U.S. Representatives visited the Ukraine-Moldova border crossing, which is located just 35 miles from Odessa, Ukraine. Pingree’s is the first U.S. Congressional Delegation to stop in Moldova, which is not part of NATO, since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Following the group’s visit to the border, Congresswoman Pingree shared her observations:
“We were the first congressional delegation to go to Moldova amid this crisis. It was gut-wrenching to talk with the families crossing the border who left fathers, sons, and brothers behind. Many also left grandparents who were unable or unwilling to move. I met three sisters—volunteering in the refugee camp—who had been sent to live in Moldova while their parents stayed behind in Odessa. I was heartbroken to hear stories of elderly people not surviving the 35-mile walk from Odessa to the border crossing.
“Of the more than 300,000 refugees who have crossed Moldova’s border, around 100,000 are still here. Some have family or friends to stay with, but most went wherever someone had a couch or bed to offer. We witnessed the same selfless generosity by private citizens in Poland and Romania as well. I was touched to see a food stand with homemade crocheted blankets draping the benches and I was told local women from a very small village nearby had made them to help Ukrainians feel at home.
“Justifiably, there is tremendous concern that if Odessa is targeted by Putin, that as many as 1 million people could be on the move to Moldova, which is a country of only 2.5 million. Moldova has taken in the highest number of refugees per capita of any border country even though they are by far the country with the least resources and are still recovering from the COVID pandemic. The generosity of the neighboring nations and their people toward Ukraine in its time of need is nothing short of heroic.
“We were fortunate to meet with Moldova’s Prime Minister and a member of her Cabinet today. Prime Minister Gavrilița has done an outstanding job leading her country through this perilous moment despite Russian disinformation and energy dominating their country.”
Click here for photos of the group’s stop in Moldova.
The Congressional delegation includes:
The Biden Administration has now committed $2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since taking office. Over the past two weeks alone, the United States has delivered more than $1 billion in direct equipment transfers from the Department of Defense to the Ukrainian military.
Pingree voted with the House to pass the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations package, which included $13.6 billion in humanitarian and security aid to Ukraine. This included $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and $300 million for allies and partners in the region, as well as $6.8 billion in humanitarian, economic, and security assistance for Ukrainians.