Home More News Diplomatic Spotlight, Feb. 23, 2024

Diplomatic Spotlight, Feb. 23, 2024

Diplomatic Spotlight, Feb. 23, 2024
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, Iowa Rep. Zach Nunn, Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger, and Arkansas Rep. French Hill during a visit by the five U.S. lawmakers to Kyiv, Feb. 9, 2024. (Courtesy photo)

US lawmakers visit Kyiv, pledge to stand with Ukraine

Five US lawmakers from both major parties pledged during a visit to Kyiv this month to stand with Ukraine as the country’s war approached the two-year mark, and paid their respects at the Wall of Remembrance to Ukrainians who have died fighting against Russian aggression.

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow, right, lays flowers at the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv during a visit to Ukraine in Feb. 2024. Shown with Crow are Reps. French Hill of Arkansas, left, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink. (Courtesy Rep. Jason Crow)

Before meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the head of the delegation, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Mike Turner (R-Ohio), told reporters the group had come to Kyiv “so that we could voice to President Zelenskyy and others that we are seeing that the United States stands in full support of Ukraine.”

He added “We all have access to the intelligence as to the risk that is faced not only by the United States, our allies, but the world as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

Days after the trip, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that includes $60 billion to support Ukraine, but there were rumblings that the House, where the Republicans have a slim majority, might reject the bill.

Three other members of the intelligence committee – Jason Crow (D-Colo.), French Hill (R-Ark.) and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) – and Zach Nunn (R-Iowa), who sits on the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance and International Financial Institutions, were part of the delegation, led by Turner.

“The purpose and the goal of the trip is to ensure that our Ukrainian partners recognize the commitment of the American people, and certainly the American Congress, will continue to have in supporting Ukraine and its fight for freedom,” Spanberger said.

Crow noted that, for less than 5% of the US’s annual defense budget, “We have helped Ukraine ensure a stable and prosperous Europe; we have helped Ukraine destroy over half of the Russian military; we have helped Ukraine defend our allies in NATO; and we have helped Ukraine ensure stable food prices and a stable supply of food around the world.”

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers pledged during a visit to Kyiv in February to stand with Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia, which went into its third year on Feb. 24. (Courtesy Rep. Jason Crow)

Hill told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the United States was joining “the Europeans in demonstrating to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that he’s not going to take the rest of Georgia, he’s not going to take the rest of Moldova, and he’s not going to take the balance of Ukraine.”

The lawmakers’ visit confirmed that the United States “is a strategic partner helping us effectively resist the aggressor,” Zelenskyy said.

The visit was also “important for boosting the morale of our people, especially for those heroes fighting on the front lines today,” the Ukrainian leader said. – Karin Zeitvogel

Nigerian Consul General in Atlanta is first African diplomat to be recognized by state legislature

Nigerian Consul General in Atlanta Amina Smaila (Screenshot)

Nigeria’s consul general in Atlanta has been recognized by the state legislature in Georgia for her “efficient and unselfish dedication to public service to the state.”

Consul General Amina Smaila, who oversees consular matters in 16 southeastern states and Puerto Rico, is the first African diplomat to be recognized by the Georgia state legislature in its 247-year history, Nigerian media reports said.

“Her outstanding service has earned her numerous honours, including delivering the commencement speech at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and receiving the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta,” the resolution recognizing her says.

“It’s abundantly fitting and proper that the outstanding accomplishments of this remarkable and distinguished (diplomat) be appropriately recognised,’’ Georgian lawmakers said in the state House of Representatives, as Smaila received the award and a standing ovation from lawmakers in mid-February.

Smaila has served as Nigeria’s Consul General in Atlanta since July 2021. – Karin Zeitvogel

Burns night celebration at the US Chamber of Commerce

About 300 guests attended an evening of Scottish traditions in honor of poet and author Robert Burns.

The British-American Business Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the St. Andrews Society of Washington, D.C., hosted a Burns Night Celebration at the U.S. Chamber’s national headquarters in late January.

The event, held to honor Scottish national poet Robert Burns, showcased Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. Guests enjoyed a feast of traditional Scottish delicacies, including haggis (minced meat and onions), and were entertained by lively Scottish dances, bagpipe melodies and traditional poetry readings.

The celebration also featured an ample supply of Scotland’s signature beverage, whisky.




Washington Diplomat