# Ukraine



Zelenskyy appreciates American history

Rick Morain is the former publisher and owner of the Jefferson Herald, for which he writes a regular column.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a dramatic, crisp, and impactful address to the American Congress in Washington on December 21.

Dramatic because it brought front and center the danger the Ukrainian people face continuously from Russian aggression. Crisp because Zelenskyy wasted no words in describing Ukraine’s situation. And impactful because his message aligned his country’s fate with proud moments in American history.

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Grassley, Ernst oppose big spending bill but back some provisions

The U.S. Senate completed its work for the year on December 22, when senators approved an omnibus bill to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2023.

The bill allocates $1.7 trillion in federal government spending ($858 billion for the military, and $772 billion in non-defense spending). The Washington Post broke down the funding by appropriations area.

The legislation also provides $44.9 billion more in aid to Ukraine, and $40.6 billion for disaster aid. It changes some Medicaid rules, which will preserve coverage for many new mothers and children. It also includes some policies not related to federal spending, such as reforms to the Electoral Count Act, workplace protections for pregnant or breastfeeding employees, and a ban on installing TikTok on government-owned devices.

Eighteen Republicans joined the whole Democratic caucus to pass the omnibus bill. Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among the 29 Republicans who opposed the bill on final passage (roll call). But they supported some amendments added to the bill on December 22, as well as several GOP proposals that failed to pass.

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Thoughts on what’s happening in Ukraine and political implications

Emily Silliman shares what she’s learned while closely following events in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Three months after the Russian Federation invaded a sovereign country with more than 40 million residents, it’s clear Ukrainians are winning this war

This past month was supposed to bring a major push by Russia in the east, after having lost the battle of Kyiv, withdrawn, and re-deployed forces to the eastern theater. Russia appears to want to capture more of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (regions), and control as much of the Black Sea coast as possible, as well as maintaining control of Crimea. 

Although that plan made some sense, the Russian armed forces didn’t stick to it. Instead, they wasted effort on multiple lines of attack, including a push toward Kryvyi Ryh, the home town of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukraine has very effectively stopped the invaders on all fronts, with a couple of exceptions, with some towns going back and forth between Ukrainian and Russian forces. 

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Chuck Grassley absent from Russia's expanded sanctions list

The Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry announced on May 21 that it was expanding the list of U.S. citizens who are permanently banned from entering Russia.

In addition to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other Biden administration officials, Russia has sanctioned hundreds of members of Congress. All four Iowans who serve in the U.S. House were on the initial sanctions list, which Russia released last month. The expanded “stop list” also includes U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who welcomed the news.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley is absent from Russia’s updated list. His communications staff did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry about the matter.

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Doors swinging outward?

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

I’m primarily of Nordic ancestry, somewhere between 62 and 83 percent. Let’s say, approximately three-quarters. Despite my Germanic name, my family tree is rooted in Norway, as is my wife Paula’s. Mindful of this heritage, Paula and I traveled to Norway with my parents in 1998, to visit locations from which our ancestors departed almost 150 years earlier to begin their new lives in the U.S.

One community we sought out was Grue, population 5,000. As we entered town, in the best Norwegian tradition, we made for a local coffee shop. The waitress asked if our visit was linked to the Grue Church fire.

Not really. But wait, what Grue church fire? (Clearly, we had not done our homework.) No, we were there mostly to gaze upon tombstones of distant relatives. But tell us a bit about this fire…

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Russia sanctions Iowa members of Congress

All four Iowans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives were among 398 members of Congress the Russian Federation sanctioned on April 13. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the move as a reaction to the Biden administration’s sanctions against hundreds of Russian parliamentarians.

U.S. Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Cindy Axne (IA-03), and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) have all voted for military assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks. And it’s unlikely any are bothered by the prospect of being denied entry to Russia.

In fact, Hinson tweeted that the sanctions were a “badge of honor,” adding,

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