The Honorable Lindsey O. Graham
Senior United States Senator for South Carolina
United States Senate
211 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
BY FAX: +1 202 224 3808
December 4, 2023
Re: CONTINUED CONGRESSIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE UKRAINE
Dear Senator Graham:
I am the Managing Partner of the Paladins Organization, a legal, security and intelligence consultancy whose seat is in England and whose website is at www.the-paladins.com. During my career, which includes my having had the privilege of Service in conjunction with various branches of the U.S. Government, commencing with my Service as an international peacekeeper in the Western Balkans in the early years of the twenty-first century, and which has also included my presentation of testimony to the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs about corruption in the United Nations Organization and its associated agencies, I have come to know Ukraine very well. My first visit to Ukraine was in 1994 and I have visited the country at least 50 times since then, possibly more.
At the current juncture I am present as an international civilian volunteer in Ukraine and I am writing this letter from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine that was yesterday and last night the subject of attack by Russian-Iranian reconnaissance and/or aerial bombardment drones. These events are frequent in Ukraine. I arrived in Ukraine in early September 2023 and spent my first two months in theater supplying urgent humanitarian supplies in close proximity to a variety of front line locations. I have been injured in the course of my Service in Ukraine but I have remained in theater because the need for international assistance is so great. During my time in Ukraine I have been undertaking my own bipartisan fact-finding mission at my own expense and without expectation of reward, and transmitting my findings in appropriate ways.
I am taking a break today from my duties of preparing food supplies to the Ukrainian military who otherwise threaten to go malnourished and emaciated; and of preparing rudimentary paraffin candles to soldiers living in World War One style icy frozen trenches to prevent them from freezing to death in the harsh Ukrainian winter, to write urgently to you on the subject of whether the United States Congress ought to continue funding the Ukrainian government in its struggles to resist relentless military aggression on the part of a neo-totalitarian Russian Federation that seeks to disrupt the European international order that my parents and grandparents, as British citizens, fought so hard to maintain in two world wars in the twentieth century, alongside our allies the United States of America who did the world so proud in upholding Euro-Atlantic values against tyranny.
I am not a U.S. citizen and ordinarily I would not consider it appropriate to intervene in the U.S. constitutional or political procedures; but as a attorney and counselor-at-law of the State of New York I have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America and in that capacity I consider it appropriate to draw the following matters to your attention in the hope that you will likewise raise these matters with your colleagues for all of whom I have the greatest respect and admiration. I did this once before, with your colleague the Honorable Susan R. Collins, in connection with the question that fell to the Senate floor of whether to approve Justice Brett Kavanaugh as an associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and I now make the following representations with the same bona fide intentions of assisting the United States Senate in the debates and decisions which it falls for the Senate, under the Constitution of the United States, now to render in connection with Congress’s continued support for Ukraine.
1. I am well aware that Congress has approved some US$65 billion or more in appropriations to support free Ukraine since the commencement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and this is a very significant and generous sum on the part of the American people who place their trust in the United States Senate and the other institutions of the United States Government to spend their taxpayers’ funds wisely, prudently and in accordance with law and in the best interests of the United States and her people.
2. However the fact remains that the GDP of Ukraine is estimated to be somewhere in the region of US$130 billion per annum and therefore without continued substantial financial support, free Ukraine would simply collapse. Her military would be routed and her civilian institutions would disintegrate. As the Russian Armed Forces thereafter advanced, in all possibility or even likelihood there might be a massive exodus of Ukrainian refugees into Europe that would have the potential to destabilise the European Union and NATO member states, staunch allies of the United States. Hence in the funding decisions Congress makes, the future stability of Europe is at stake as is the stability of U.S. allies and the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that has kept the United States and Europe in substantial harmony and peace since its inception in 1949.
3. I fully concede that there are questions as to the efficiency and efficacy with which U.S. taxpayers’ and other countries’ taxpayers’ funds are being used in the prosecution of the war in Ukraine; humanitarian causes in the protection of civilians; support for governmental institutions in Ukraine that by consensus are highly corrupt but nevertheless have seen substantial improvement since the initiation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022; and these issues of efficiency of expenditure, wise use of funds and tackling corruption cannot and must not be overlooked. I personally have been examining these issues and I am satisfied that inefficiencies and corruption in the expenditure of foreign donor funds is an aggravating factor in not bringing this conflict to a more speedy resolution.
4. Nevertheless now is not the time to pull the plug on Congressional funding so as to devastate Ukraine’s prospects for fighting a just war on behalf of all NATO member states and on behalf of western values of liberty, democracy and rule of law that we all share and that I know from my own experiences over the last 30 years that the Ukrainian people share as well. Ukrainians have had a tragic history since their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 in which malign Russian influence within the country has chronically undermined all attempts to reform corrupt Soviet-era public institutions and this did not really begin to change until the election of President Zelenskiy in 2019. Now he is in the heroic if laborious process of trying to drag Ukraine’s public institutions into the twenty-first century to confirm to Euro-Atlantic standards while at the same time fighting the biggest land war in history since Stalin reached the gates of Berlin in 1945.
5. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are estimated to have a standing army of some 700,000 or more troops and this massive military force requires constant support which is what I am spending the greater majority of each day, seven days per week, in uncomfortable and occasionally hazard circumstances in Ukrainian military theater, personally striving to achieve. I believe that you and your colleagues have the same support for these modern heroes, seeking to maintain Europe’s structural integrity against neo-imperial aggression from the East, and the spread of what is essentially a neo-communist system of government contrary to everything America and her European allies have struggled for throughout the twentieth century and the twenty-first. This is something that we are all duty-bound to support, in the interests of our common democratic values. Russia cannot be allowed to rewrite European borders as she pleases through the use of military force. Because if she succeeds on this occasion, then she will keep moving westwards.
6. If the United States Government continues to engage constructively with Ukraine - as it has done - then NATO has a colossal opportunity ahead of it: the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, with her armed forces reformed under the supervision of the United States and her principal allies, more than doubling the total size of the military personnel under NATO central command. This would make the world a far safer place for the Euro-Atlantic values that we all cherish.
7. Therefore I respectfully invite the United States Congress, in making its decisions as to whether to continue funding support for Ukraine, to consider the medium and long-term consequences of failure to do so. Given the abject war crimes committed by Russia in the occupied territories of Ukraine, which war crimes have been comprehensively documented by the Ukrainian authorities and even witnessed by me, it is wholly unrealistic to suggest to the Ukrainian government that it ought to negotiate a resolution to this conflict because this would be inviting the Ukrainians to negotiate with butchers, rapists of children, and people who slaughter innocent civilians wantonly.
8. Congress might well see fit in its deliberations to attach conditionality to funding for free Ukraine, including requiring commitments on the part of the Ukrainian government to public administration reform, the elimination of corruption, improvement of the legal system, achieving further efficiencies in the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ systems of public procurement; and a variety of other fields in which Ukrainian government services are sorely wanting. This is the approach the European Union is also adopting. Nevertheless, at this critical juncture in which hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian service man are a risk of starving or freezing to death on a front line with an aggressive imperial power seeking to march west and disrupt the Euro-Atlantic international order, now is not the time to decide to stop funding free Ukraine or to be seen within the international public eye as diminishing U.S. Government support for Ukraine.
Dr. Matthew T. Parish, Esq.