WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman stepped into Southern Ukraine over Memorial Day Weekend.

What You Need To Know

  • Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman has become a leading voice on Capitol Hill for sending aid to Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia

  • Portman is co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus and visited Eastern Europe over Memorial Day Weekend

  • In an interview before his trip, Portman explained why he wants the U.S. and its allies to develop a long-term plan to help Ukraine recover

  • Some Republicans, including the nominee seeking to succeed Portman, disagree with his approach

He was visiting three Eastern European countries to get briefed on Russia’s war, as it neared the 100-day mark.

Three days earlier, Portman said the United States and its allies have to develop a long-term plan to help Ukraine as it attempts to win the war.

“There’s going to be a period here where they’ve got to rebuild and get back on their feet,” Portman said in an interview on Capitol Hill. “I think the global community needs to step forward.”

In Washington, Portman co-chairs the Senate Ukraine Caucus and has delivered 13 speeches on the Senate floor about the war since it began.

The U.S. has committed roughly $54 billion to Ukraine this year, but Portman said more will be needed to ensure Ukraine can maintain its independence from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He argues the results of this war could send a message to the rest of the world.

“If you have Putin actually being able to go into a neighboring country that’s an ally of ours, a democracy, take over the country, ruin the country, what’s going to happen with regard to China and Taiwan?” Portman said. “What’s going to happen with regard to Iran and the Middle East, including Israel? What’s going to happen globally, in terms of the world order? So this is definitely not in our national security interest to have Putin win.”

But not all Republicans agree with Portman, who’s retiring from the Senate later this year.

J.D. Vance, the Republican nominee in the race to succeed Portman, made headlines back in February for comments he made about Ukraine on Steve Bannon’s podcast “War Room.”

“I’ve got to be honest with you. I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” Vance said in the interview. He slightly walked back his comment in the aftermath.

Portman argues the U.S. and its allies should support countries like Ukraine that are trying to embrace democracy and a free market economy. 

He said alliances like NATO are important to maintain and that the U.S. should set examples for other countries to follow.

“We should be leading the world,” Portman said. “We should not be doing it by ourselves. We need a lot of help and there are now 40 countries in the world who are stepping forward and providing assistance, including military assistance, to Ukraine. That’s a good thing.”