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A bipartisan congressional delegation traveled to Poland this weekend where members met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and were given a firsthand look at the crisis unfolding in Europe as Ukrainians flee from their country amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly invasion.
The delegation, made up of Democrats and Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC), made the journey to stand in support of the Ukrainian people and condemn the war launched by Russia.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a media conference in Brussels, Friday, March 4, 2022.
(Olivier Douliery, Pool Photo via AP)
“I’m particularly pleased to be here with friends and colleagues from the Congress,” Blinken said at the meeting. “This is, as always, very powerful to see a bipartisan group of leaders from Congress standing together, coming together in support of Ukraine, and standing strongly against Vladimir Putin’s war of choice and aggression that is not only – is first and foremost affecting the people of Ukraine, but poses a threat to the basic principles of the international order that all of us stand strongly for.”
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“I think we’re determined – as Republicans, as Democrats, as Americans – not to let this go with impunity,” Blinken added.
During the meeting, Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., chairman of HFAC, offered appreciation for the people of Poland as they work to deal with the humanitarian crisis resulting from Putin’s war with Ukraine.
Chairman Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., left, and ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, in the Rayburn Building on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“We completely filled our plane, because we wanted to make sure that – number one, we wanted to say thank you to the Polish people,” Meeks said. “The humanitarian concerns that they have had wreaked on them – now they’re able to help someone else.”
“We all thought that it was extremely important for members of the Congress, in a bipartisan way, to come to say thank you and that we know – for those that had to leave their homes in Ukraine because of one man who decided that he’s going to make and commit war crimes, killing innocent men, women and children – that we wanted to also let them know that the United States has their back,” Meeks added. “And we’re going to stay together.”
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Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the ranking member on the committee, also spoke during the meeting, echoing Meeks’ sentiment on bipartisanship and offering thanks to the people of Poland.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 15, 2021.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
“We’re not here as Republicans or Democrats, but really as Americans supporting our NATO Ally, Poland, and the people of Ukraine,” McCaul said. “We stand with you. We just had a video conference with President Zelenskyy, one of the most courageous individuals I’ve ever seen. Very inspiring. And the chairman’s right: Mr. Putin is a war criminal, he’s going to lose in the end, and we want to work with you and the administration to … bring him to justice and stop the bloodshed. And again, I just want to thank Poland and the people of Ukraine. We are with you, and we will do everything we can to stop this.”
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.
Prior to the meeting, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., who lived in Ukraine when he was an FBI agent, outlined the importance of the trip during an interview with Fox News Digital. He worked with Ukrainian law enforcement and government on anti-corruption, cybersecurity and counterintelligence efforts to counter Russia.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., talks about his planned trip to the Ukraine border.
(Fox News Digital)
“This is personal to me. These are my friends over there,” Fitzpatrick said. “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.”:
“The world is seeing the courage of Ukraine and Ukrainian people right now,” he added.
Other members of the delegation that traveled to Europe included Reps. Gerald Connolly, D-Va.; David Cicilline, D-R.I.; Ann Wagner, R-Mo.; Susan Wild, D-Pa.; and Raul Ruiz, D-Calif.
The delegation is planning to stay in the region through Monday.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this article.