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Ukrainian general urges unity as GOP seeks to seize House in wake of battle for Kharkiv: ‘Stalingrad 2022’

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As Republicans appear poised to take over the US House of Representatives, a Ukrainian general is calling for unity in Congress after he recaptured Kharkiv from invasion by Russian forces on one of the most brutal battlefronts in Europe since World War II.

The United States has provided $18.6 billion in security assistance since the war in Ukraine began on February 24, including weapons Ukrainian forces relied on for their main counteroffensive in the northern region earlier this year.

The head of the Kharkiv military garrison, Justice Brigadier General Serhiy Mykolayovych Melnyk, has seen firsthand the impact a unified response from international allies can have in the war against Russia.

The head of the Kharkiv military garrison, Justice Brigadier General Serhiy Mykolayovych Melnyk, center.
(Photo provided by Ukraine Frontline Media Platform)

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Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv immediately engaged in a brutal battle over the northern region after the invasion and before Western aid could be delivered in full effect. However, despite the challenges his forces faced, Melnyk’s troops gained almost instant notoriety.

“Since the beginning of the war, the city has been nicknamed Stalingrad 2022,” he told Fox News in an interview from Kharkiv. “We have survived, we are still standing and we will continue standing.”

The regional capital city was awarded the honorary title “Hero City” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in early March, a reference to a post-World War II Soviet tradition, for its swift response to Russia’s invasion.

Ukrainian National Guard soldiers fire at Russian positions from an anti-aircraft gun in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Friday, November 11, 2022.

Ukrainian National Guard soldiers fire at Russian positions from an anti-aircraft gun in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine, Friday, November 11, 2022.
(AP Photo/Andrii Marienko)

Although Melnyk’s forces successfully prevented Russian troops from occupying Ukraine’s second-largest city, located just 25 miles from Russia, the region’s shared border meant heavy fighting began in the invasion attack.

“It cannot be said that the Russian side did not provide them with adequate support. It’s just that the defense of Kharkiv itself was practiced very correctly,” Commander Roman Hryshchenko told Fox News, defending Melnyk’s leadership.

Commander Roman Hryshchenko, left, Commander of the 127th Detached Brigade of the Kharkiv Territorial Defense Forces.

Commander Roman Hryshchenko, left, Commander of the 127th Detached Brigade of the Kharkiv Territorial Defense Forces.
(Photo provided by Ukraine Frontline Media Platform)

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The commander, whose call sign is “Uncle Roma,” leads the 127th Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces that drove Russia out of Kharkiv, a success story that has made his brigade legendary throughout Ukraine, as it 70% of its fighting force is made up of soldiers who were civilians before the invasion of Russia.

“Thanks to our Western partners, the US, Great Britain, Poland and many others, we managed to accumulate a certain amount of weapons, the minimum that would allow us to carry out the planned counteroffensive operations,” the commander explained.

“Uncle Roma” told Fox News that even with the substantial international support Ukraine has received, it is not enough, noting that his brigade was forced to rely on heavy weaponry it took from retreating Russian troops in Kharkiv.

Commander Roman Hryshchenko, left, Commander of the 127th Detached Brigade of the Kharkiv Territorial Defense Forces.

Commander Roman Hryshchenko, left, Commander of the 127th Detached Brigade of the Kharkiv Territorial Defense Forces.
(Photo provided by Ukraine Frontline Media Platform)

Although Washington’s support for Ukraine has been largely bipartisan, House Republicans raised concerns ahead of the US midterm elections when Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the GOP was not he would write a “blank check” to Kyiv if he gained control of the bottom half. camera.

Similarly, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, said in the run-up to the election that “under the Republicans, not one more penny will go to Ukraine.”

“Our country comes first,” he added.

The Ukrainian brigadier general expressed appreciation for the support provided by the United States, but argued that some lawmakers do not understand the brutality of war. “You have to come here and see. To look into the eyes of the mothers, the children who have been orphaned,” he said.

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A dog stands among the ruins of the village of Malaya Rogan after Ukrainian forces recaptured the village from Russian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 18, 2022.

A dog stands among the ruins of the village of Malaya Rogan after Ukrainian forces recaptured the village from Russian forces in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 18, 2022.
(Photo by Sofia Bobok/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Melnyk described a harrowing experience he had while helping people evacuate on buses, saying he saw people’s dogs “stand up and cry on their hind legs” as owners and pets begged for them to be evacuated.

“It’s very hard,” he said. “The enemy must be defeated.”

“Only through unity will we save the world,” the brigadier-general said, referring to Russia’s threats to use nuclear war. “Let’s act together to bring down the regime of the tyrant, of the terrorist.”

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