By Sergiy Voloshin
KYIV (Reuters) – If the United States fails to sufficiently support Ukraine in its war against Russia, it would send a signal to China that it could take Taiwan, a senior senator said during a visit to Kiev on Friday.
Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said after a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that US President Joe Biden should send more weapons to Ukraine in addition to the more than $35 billion in weapons and military hardware already delivered.
A hard line on China is one of the few policies supported by two parties in the deeply divided US Congress.
Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory. Chinese forces conducted exercises, fired missiles over Taiwan and cut military contacts with Washington after former Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governed island in August 2022.
“We can’t hold back from helping Ukraine because if we fail here, Taiwan will go there,” Graham told reporters.
“If you’re running for president, as a Republican or a Democrat, I don’t know how you can make the argument that we’ll be stronger against China if we pull the plug on Ukraine — that makes no sense. What I want the Chinese to shows that invading a neighbor is not as easy as it seems.”
He continued: “The best way to protect Taiwan and the world order is for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to lose.”
For a long-awaited counter-offensive in Ukraine to succeed, the armed forces need more and better armaments, such as US-made F-16 fighter jets and longer-range weapons, Graham said.
“There are guns that matter and we have been too slow to get guns that are important to the Ukrainian military… my message to the Biden administration is: I appreciate what you have done. You need to do more.” said Graham.
(Reporting by Sergiy Voloshin, written by David Ljunggren; edited by Grant McCool)