Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association works toward approval of aid for Ukraine

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — The Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association has been working for months with lawmakers to approve aid for Ukraine.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a $95 billion aid package that provides support for several allies and includes $60 billion for Ukraine.

The foreign aid package is a sign of hope for Ukrainians after a dozen members of the Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association traveled to Washington D.C. last week.

This was part of the Ukraine Action Summit Nationwide summit.

For two days, several groups met with Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, as well as, Reps. Jen Kiggans, Bobby Scott and Jennifer McClellan.

Anna Makhorkina, president of the Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association, has been organizing events, vigils and calls to action for the last two years and is grateful for the approval of money to Ukraine.

“One thing that Ukraine has is the will to continue fighting because it’s Ukrainian land,” Makhorkina said. “It’s [the] land of ancestors. It’s [the] land of families. It’s [the] land of a bright future for families and there is no other choice. If the fight stops, … everything stops.

“If Ukrainians don’t fight for their independence against the aggressor, they would be exterminated. There would be no Ukrainians, no Ukrainian state. There will be just bare destroyed land that Russia will do [what] it pleases with. But even what’s worse, Russia will not be stopping there.”

Ahead of the Senate vote Tuesday night, the professor of International Studies at Old Dominion University organized a viewing of the 2023 war documentary 20 Days in Mariupol, Makhorkina said, “to help people understand the genocidal nature of the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine.”

Warner said during a press call Wednesday afternoon that the aid package should not have taken six months.

“The world is safer,” Warner said. “Our friends in Ukraine are safer. I think NATO is stronger,” later adding that “about 90 cents of every dollar will be spent right here in America, where we will produce ammunitions that will go to our Ukrainian friends.”

Now, there is concern that this is the last funding package until after the November election.

10 On Your Side’s Investigations team asked Warner if this is the last aid package for Ukraine.

“We put together enough assistance here that will get through the end of the year,” Warner said. “We’ve never questioned their resolve, their willingness to fight for their [country]. President Zelenskyy has said, just give us the tools, let us do the fighting, and I think we’ve done that.”

Makhorkina remains hopeful that there will be some NATO commitment to Ukraine.

“I would really want to get commitment from NATO because this is the 75th anniversary of NATO’s creation,” Makhorkina said. “I would love to see some commitment to Ukrainian membership in NATO. I’m probably being idealistic or hopeful because, of course, Ukraine is in a state of war … but there has to be some kind of mechanism to stand your ground. There’s a lot of rhetoric that Ukraine’s place is in NATO. There is no mechanism to prove it. [If not], it will leave the Ukraine more vulnerable when there is such uncertainty.”

To learn more about the Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association, click here.

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