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Stateside Podcast: Rep. Peter Meijer on Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy address joint US Congress
Pool The New York Times
Members of Congress give Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky a standing ovation before he speaks in a virtual address to Congress in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center Congressional Auditorium in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

In a joint address to Congress Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy showed footage of the devastation Ukrainians are experiencing. Republican Congressman Peter Meijer said it was jarring. He said he wants the U.S. to stay alert as the conflict continues.

Meijer said he believes freedom and democracy hang in the balance as the war in Ukraine continues.

"We have an interest in not having this world slip into one of darkness where dictators and autocrats through brutal tactics repress and subjugate people, but rather individuals are allowed to decide their own destiny," Meijer said.

Meijer said he thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to exude strength to maintain power. The congressman says, “dictators don’t retire.”

He said he hopes to see Ukrainians prevail and decide for themselves where they fit into the world.

"Nobody should be — should underestimate the potential for this conflict to escalate," Meijer said. "One of the reasons why we have to be engaged and have to be involved is so that it does not escalate."

Meijer said he supports getting Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, but he doesn’t want U.S. troops to get involved. Some defense experts say that would pull the U.S. and NATO into the conflict. Meijer believes that's exactly what President Vladimir Putin wants.

Meijer said that's why the US needs to stay engaged and ready for a possible escalation.

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Stateside’s theme music is by 14KT.

Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions.

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Radio in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the Summer of 2020.
Katheryne Friske is an intern in the Newsroom. She has a background in vocal music and education.