Congressman Ruben Gallego speaks on the war in Ukraine

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Russian forces are facing fierce resistance from Ukrainian troops and citizen volunteers in today’s fighting in Ukraine. Earlier today, we spoke with Arizona congressman Ruben Galego, a combat veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, about the Russian assault and where it’s all headed.

Gallego spoke highly of the Ukrainian resistance so far, describing their performance as “quite impressive,” saying that they “can survive this, and they can turn back Russia, but it will be costly.”

While recommending that the United States and allies do what they can to support Ukraine against Russia, he said that he was not in favor of putting a no-fly-zone over Ukraine.

“We need to be careful that while we’re trying to help Ukraine we’re not also hurting them by making the Russian resistance or will to fight even stronger,” Gallego said. “We don’t want to find ourselves shooting down Russian planes or Russian planes shooting us down and finding ourselves escalating to something we can’t control.”

Measures that he does recommend center around arming Ukraine’s own forces, providing weapons and intelligence without direct involvement. Additionally, he recommended that the US place economic and legal sanctions on Russia.

Gallego said he believes there is little chance that Russia can win the war “in the long run.”

“I think they will be able to defeat the Ukraine Army, but I do not think they will be able to defeat the people of Ukraine,” Gallego said.

In some ways, this is similar to the US occupation in Iraq, in which the US was faced with fighting insurgents long after defeated the Iraqi army.

But he stressed the differences between the US in Iraq, and Russia in Ukraine, noting that only about 1/3 of Iraqis supported the fight against the US, while a much larger percentage of Ukrainians seem to oppose Russia.

The difference in scale is extreme.

“All the years we were in Iraq we took about 4500 casualties, KIAs, give or take. Russia may have taken that within the first 5 days,” Gallego said.

“This will be the end of Putin in my opinion, at the end of this,” Gallego said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D- Arizona, 7th District

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