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On the sidewalk in Kyiv, in front of a key government office is a bronze statue of St. George spearing the dragon. The statue reflects the conviction of every Ukrainian I met. Ukraine is St. George, and Russia is the dragon.
In May 2021, I led a delegation from the American Foreign Policy Council to visit Ukraine. I visited over a dozen ministries in Kyiv, traveled to Mariupol, engaged with the Ukrainian Navy on the Sea of Azov, and went out onto the battlefield of Donbas.
A Ukrainian serviceman looks as smoke rises after a Russian troops shelling, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Luhansk Region, Ukraine April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko (REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko)
During my visit, Kyiv was calm, but every Ukrainian I met was determined to remain out of the clutches of Russia. The consistent message of every person I met in Ukraine was that Ukrainians are not Russian and would never be made into Russians even if conquered. The Ukrainian officials made it clear that, as a people, they had decided that Ukraine’s future was to be a democratic