President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Photo credit: President Of Ukraine / Flickr

The US is unquestionably Ukraine’s most important ally. It not only provides weapons and other support to the country but also functions as the main deterrent against further Russian aggression.

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If there is one place Vladimir Putin does not dare to mess with in open conflict, it’s a pro-democracy United States. And that is why he has spent the past few years undermining his old adversary… with great success.

Especially in the GOP, a pro-Russia sentiment has never been as pronounced as right now, with many Republicans now echoing Moscow’s talking points, which has led to consternation among senior members of their own party.

“To the extent that this propaganda takes hold, it makes it more difficult for us to really see this as an authoritarian versus democracy battle, which is what it is,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) earlier this year.

Of course, that climb is made steeper by Donald Trump being one of the driving forces of the GOP’s pro-Russia sentiment. In his case, that’s understandable because he loves palling around with authoritarians and still owes Putin a favor for having helped him to be elected in 2016.

Trump’s “leadership” on the issue is the main reason why crucial military aid to Ukraine was delayed for months as house Republicans did his bidding.

Now that the prospect of Trump getting a second term in office seems more real than ever, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy knows that, if he can no longer get top-down support from the US as early as next January, he has to get the American people to sympathize with the plight of his country.

To that end, he used Independence Day for a message that Kyiv hopes will resonate with regular Americans: the shared struggle for freedom.

“We understand what independence means to you, Americans, and you can see that it means the same thing to us, Ukrainians. We value independence equally and rely on our brave men and women to defend it,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

The Ukrainian president added that the two countries are “creating hope for people all over the world” and that, in the end, freedom win will out.

“True independence is always the result of won battles, and freedom must be reinforced with victories every time tyranny attempts to destroy it,” Zelenskyy wrote on America’s 248th birthday. “Different generations of Americans and Ukrainians have witnessed this firsthand, and it is critical that current generations pass on a sense of confident independence and guaranteed freedom to their children and grandchildren.”

In light of Trump’s pro-Russia stance, it seems unlikely that his appeal will fall on fertile ground with Republicans.

Earlier this year, a majority of GOP voters said that the US is doing too much to help Ukraine, and more than 90 percent said Trump is best equipped to handle the situation. It stands to reason that Putin will agree and that Zelenskyy’s appeal will fall on deaf ears.

That didn’t stop him from trying to use an Independence Day message to rally Americans to a common cause.

“On this day, we join our trusted ally in recognizing this most sacred value for both of our nations. We do so with deep gratitude for all of the support that the United States has provided and continues to provide to Ukraine in its fight for freedom, independence, and security – not only its own, but that of all free nations,” he wrote. “Thank you, America. Thank you to every American heart that beats in solidarity with brave Ukrainian hearts fighting for independence.”


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