Here’s why Rep. Seth Moulton went on a secret trip to Ukraine

"We’ve got to ensure that they win."

Congressman Seth Moulton
Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton was among a bipartisan group of House lawmakers who traveled to Ukraine late last week on a secret trip to learn more about the status of the country’s ongoing war against Russia.

According to The Boston Globe, Moulton, a Salem Democrat, flew to Poland by way of Germany late Thursday and then took an overnight train to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city, late Friday.

The five representatives met with American and Ukrainian officials there on Saturday before leaving Ukraine that night.

“Fundamentally, the question we’re trying to answer is, how do we better support Ukraine to win this war,” Moulton told the Globe on Sunday night. “You can’t really understand a war until you see it close to the ground.”


Moulton, a former Marine, made headlines last year for his controversial and unauthorized secret trip to Afghanistan amid the withdrawal of the U.S. military.

This time around, however, Moulton’s trip was part of an authorized visit organized by the House Armed Services Committee, on which Moulton sits, according to the Globe. Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, Sara Jacobs of California, Salud Carbajal of California, and Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, a Republican, were also on the Ukraine trip.

Moulton told the newspaper the cohort met with the American ambassador, the deputy minister of defense, and an anti-corruption official for Ukraine at the American embassy.

“Are we getting them what they need? The answer is that overall, we’re doing a very good job,” Moulton said. “But sometimes they are frustrated with the speed, they think things could be getting in more quickly.”

Moulton said at this moment, Ukrainian forces are in need of anti-aircraft systems to defend against Russian attacks on the country’s utility infrastructure.

So far, the U.S. has committed $20 billion to the Ukrainian war effort although Republicans, with a slight House majority come next month, may want to clamp down on war spending.


As the war has continued on, the Congressional Progressive Caucus also reached out to the White House earlier in the fall to call on President Biden to negotiate directly with Russia in a letter the caucus then quickly rescinded.

“They’re concerned about where this could go,” Moulton told the Globe. “I think they’re thinking about the comments of [Republican House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy, and they’re thinking about that letter from the progressives.”

Moulton said the delegation saw missile damage and destroyed Russian tanks, but Kyiv’s resilience during the Russian invasion has also left an impression on him.

“War fatigue is a real thing,” Moulton said. “It’s easy for people to forget what’s going on there, but it’s a horrendous fight, it certainly didn’t need to happen, but we’ve got to ensure that they win.”

Moulton was in Ukraine a year ago, as Russia built up its military among the border before launching its invasion in February.

In May, Moulton’s fellow Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern, the Worcester Democrat, also visited Kyiv with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


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