As the U.S. and NATO continue to supply artillery and capital to the Ukrainian government in their effort to stave off the invasion of Vladimir Putin's Russia, the subject of foreign aid to Ukraine has become a wedge-issue for many Republicans in Congress.

Members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus have railed against foreign aid to Ukraine as a way to both criticize Republican leadership, the Democrats, and President Joe Biden to paint them as perpetuators of wasteful spending on fruitless foreign quagmires.

But proponents of supplying aid to Ukraine, such as Congressman Bill Keating (D-Massachusetts), have said it's a necessary measure to ensure that Putin's expressed effort to expand his sphere of influence is halted before it can pick up any steam.

Keating, who sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Armed Services Committee, made a recent appearance on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight and issued a dire warning to those who are beating the drum for pulling resources out of Ukraine.

Keating explained that approximately one year ago when Russia was lining troops up at the boarder of Ukraine but had not yet began their invasion, the U.S. sent a letter to Putin in efforts to explore a diplomatic resolution.

Putin replied to the U.S.'s letter with his own correspondence. Putin's letter, according to Keating, outlined his ultimate goal to not just invade Ukraine, but to disarm one half of member countries of NATO.

"Now why is that important? We have a treaty – and it's iron-clad – with NATO," Keating said.

"If they go one inch into any NATO countries – and (Russia) was talking about the Baltics, they were talking about Moldova, as well as other NATO countries – then we're at war," he said. "And we're required under that war to amass troops."

Keating described what would transpire if Russia invaded NATO as a "full scale World War III."

"Because of the courage of the Ukrainians, they're taking this fight on themselves," he said. "If we don't support them in that effort now, undoubtedly we will have troops on the ground ourselves – because Putin's ambitions, in writing, go far beyond Ukraine."

When the Democrats held the House majority, Keating chaired the Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment; he now sits as the subcommittee's ranking member.

In that capacity, he has met with Ukrainian citizens and government officials to get an on the ground perspective of the atrocities the Russian government is committing in Ukraine.

Keating described what he had heard from the Ukrainian people with vivid detail.

"Russian soldiers are taking young people, women and men, and young boys and girls, and raping them repeatedly," he said. "From morning to night, they call it a cleansing. They're doing that right in front of their families."

Keating told the story of a famous Ukrainian concert pianist who returned to his home in the city of Bucha and was nearly killed by a bomb that was rigged to blow when he struck a key in his piano. He also said the Russians are planting explosives in places most people wouldn't.

"They've taken sandboxes where children play and put bombs in them," he said. "They take dead corpses of Ukrainian civilians they've killed and wire them so that as people go to remove the bodies, they will be killed."

In the previous session of Congress, Keating chaired hearings with his subcommittee and passed legislation to better ensure that there is a public record and accountability for what he described as war crimes being committed against the Ukrainian people by the Russian government

Keating has also pushed for an international tribunal for war crimes based on Russian aggression against Ukraine in an effort to ensure that the Russian government is held accountable for its actions.

The Massachusetts Congressmen also noted that the efforts of the U.S. and NATO to continue their support of Ukraine has been successful. He cited that, to date, the number of Russian solider casualties has reached 200,000, which is well above the number of Ukrainian military causalities that have been reported.

Keating described Putin's decision to invade Ukraine as a grave miscalculation.

"It's backfired to an extent that I don't think he could have ever realized," he said.

Listen to Congressman Keating's interview on SouthCoast Tonight at the 25:00 mark below:

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