INDIANAPOLIS – As the Russian invasion rages on across Ukraine, Governor Eric Holcomb visited Slovakia this week to see the humanitarian crisis firsthand. Meanwhile, former Indiana Governor Mike Pence laid out his new “Freedom Agenda” for the Republican party.
Peace talks continued over the weekend between Russia and Ukraine. However, the two sides have made little progress towards a ceasefire since the invasion began. The U.S. is sending another $550 million to war-torn Ukraine, on top of the more than $13 billion dollars coming from The White House. It all comes in the form of humanitarian and military aid.
With billions of dollars on the way, Indiana Congresswoman Victoria Spartz wants to make sure it all gets to Ukraine quickly and smoothly. She wants for more oversight from Congress to keep track of the relief aid. Rep. Spartz is now calling for a “Congressional meeting” to make sure all of the money is delivered in a timely manner.
Meanwhile, more than 4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion. Governor Eric Holcomb is saying Indiana’s response could be similar to last year, following the American military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Indiana welcomed thousands of evacuees through Camp Atterbury. Gov. Holcomb visited Slovakia to get a glimpse of the refugee situation there. In an exclusive interview with Statehouse Reporter Kristen Eskow, he’s sounding the alarm over the growing crisis.
“All the bordering states around Ukraine are quite frankly overwhelmed,” Gov. Holcomb said.
Gov. Holcomb says the trip’s purpose is to find out how Indiana can help as the invasion intensifies. The governor’s team delivered art supplies and athletic gear to 300 children in one refugee camp. He thinks Indiana can step up for Ukrainian children through education and recreation.
“Mental health, healthcare, how to find a job, just exactly what we went through helping Afghan evacuees,” Gov. Holcomb said.
In a recent op-ed sent to newspapers, the governor stated he’s open to providing temporary or permanent housing to process Ukrainian refugees. His response also includes new sanctions against Russia, including divesting $147 million in state government investments with ties to the country.
“We’ve tried to cover all of our basis in terms of government contracts, state contracts,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We’ll leave no stoned unturned. We don’t want to perpetrate Putin’s war machine or supply it with resources.
Gov. Holcomb went further against Russia, calling for the U.S. to designate the country a state-sponsor of terrorism. He says that the country has reached a point of no return.
“The longer [Putin] remains in power, the more misery and pain I think the Russian people as well feel,” Gov. Holcomb said.
At the same time, a previous Indiana Governor is making headlines and rumors towards a future presidential run. Former Governor Mike Pence recently announced the “Freedom Agenda,” a platform for the Republican Party ahead of the 2022 midterms. It contains traditional conservative goals, like increasing energy production and cutting back regulations. It also addresses critical race theory, gun rights, and transgender athletes. Those were all high-profile issues addressed by state lawmakers this past session.
Watch more of Gov. Holcomb’s exclusive interview in the video above.
Plus, Gov. Holcomb visited Israel during his overseas trip to discuss economic interests. You can see more from that in the video below.