Ukrainian brigadier general urges GOP lawmakers to come and see the destruction for themselves
By Caitlin McFall
After retaking Kharkiv from Russian invaders in one of the bloodiest battlefronts in Europe since World War II, a Ukrainian general is calling for unity in Congress as Republicans appear set to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine on February 24, the United States has given $18.6 billion in security assistance, including the weapons Ukrainian forces used in their significant counteroffensive in the region’s north earlier this year.
Brigadier General of Justice Serhiy Mykolayovych Melnyk, the commander of the military garrison in Kharkiv, has witnessed firsthand the effect that a coordinated response from international allies can have in the conflict with Russia.
Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv were immediately engaged in a brutal battle over the northern region following the invasion and before Western aid could be delivered in full effect. However, despite the challenges his forces faced, Melnyk’s troops earned near-instant notoriety.
“Since the beginning of the war, the city has been nicknamed Stalingrad 2022,” he told Fox News in an interview from Kharkiv. “We have survived, we are still standing and will continue to stand.”
The regional capital city was given the honorary title of “Hero City” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in early March – a reference to a Soviet tradition following World War II – for its swift response to Russia’s invasion.
Though Melnyk’s forces successfully blocked Russian troops from occupying Ukraine’s second-largest city, located just 25-miles from Russia, the region’s shared border meant heavy fight began at the onslaught of the invasion.
“It cannot be said that the Russian side did not give them adequate support. It’s just that the defense of Kharkiv itself was drilled very correctly,” Commander Roman Hryshchenko told Fox News, championing Melnyk’s leadership.
The commander, whose call sign is “Uncle Roma,” is in charge of the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces, which helped Ukraine drive out Russia from Kharkiv. As a result of this success, his brigade is now renowned throughout the country because 70% of its fighting personnel were civilians before Russia invaded.
The commander explained, “Thanks to our Western allies, the USA, Great Britain, Poland, and many others, we managed to accumulate a certain amount of weapons – the minimum that would allow us to conduct planned counter-offensive operations.
Even with the significant international support Ukraine has received, “Uncle Roma” told Fox News, “it’s not enough.” He added that his brigade was forced to rely on heavy weapons it took from retreating Russian troops in Kharkiv.
Though Washington’s support for Ukraine has largely been bipartisan, House Republicans sparked concern ahead of the U.S. midterms when Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the GOP would not write a “blank check” to Kyiv if it won control over the lower chamber.
Similarly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said in the lead up to the election that “under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine.”
“Our country comes first,” she added.
The Ukrainian brigadier general expressed his gratitude for the support the U.S. has provided but argued that some lawmakers do not understand the brutality of the war. “You need to come here and see. To look into the eyes of mothers, children who have been orphaned,” he said.
Melnyk described a gut-wrenching experience he had while helping people evacuate on buses and said he witnessed people’s dogs “standing and crying on their hind legs” as owners and pets alike begged for their evacuation.
“It is very hard,” he said. “The enemy must be defeated.”
“Only by unity we will save the world,” the brigadier general said in reference to Russian threats to employ nuclear warfare. “Let’s act together to make the regime of the tyrant, terrorist, fall.”