Romanian senator in Chicago to urge continued support for Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is having a huge impact on other countries in the region, including Romania, which is why a delegation of Romanian leaders is in Chicago this week appealing for continued support from the United States.

They're worried about rhetoric on the right, threatening to end support for Ukraine.

Since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February, the United States has poured at least $18 billion in military and humanitarian aid into the war-torn country, and is poised to spend billions more.

But it's not just about Ukraine.

"We don't know what's in Putin's mind. He's aggressive. The Russian atrocities are something unbelievable," said Alfred Mihai, Romanian senator.


Mihai is part of a small delegation in Illinois this week expressing concern about threats from some Republicans to cut Ukrainian funding.

"We're talking about tens of billions of American hard earned US tax dollars being spent for another country's border for a proxy war with Russia," said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

"If Putin sees a crack into our willingness and readiness to support, why stop?" said Virgil Tiran.

Tiran is a Romanian-born businessman from Lincolnwood who arrived in the U.S. as an eighth grader.

Romania shares a nearly 400-mile border with Ukraine and has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees, putting a strain on its own economy.

On Sunday, the delegation visited a Romanian Orthodox Catholic Church on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Chicago is home to more than 150,000 Romanian Americans.

The delegation says Americans need to look at the Ukrainian aide as an investment.

"Moral, political, economical," Mihai said. "The United States in the future will have a very strong alliance in the region."

"Don't let me in my lifetime see the Berlin Wall fall and rise again," Tiran added.

On Tuesday, the Romanian delegation heads to Springfield where they'll seek support from state lawmakers, and hope to meet with Governor JB Pritzker.