If the Ukrainians fighting off the Russian special mission in their country listen to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., their next battle cry might be "ne topchy mene" which is rough translation of the American Revolutionary slogan "don't tread on me."
Wilson, a Republican whose district includes Aiken and Barnwell counties and most of the Columbia suburbs, said at a news conference Monday afternoon that the Ukrainian fight against Russia reminds him of the American Revolution.
The news conference was held to discuss a Congressional delegation trip to Ukraine, Poland and Germany over the weekend that was led by U.S. Rep. Rubén Gallego, D-Ariz.
Other participants included Wilson, U.S. Reps. Saluda Carbajal, D-Ca., Sara Jacobs, D-Ca., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass. The group left on Thursday afternoon, eventually found their way to the Ukrainian border (likely via Poland) and took a train ride to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, where they held 10 hours of meetings before leaving.
Wilson said the group met with the director of an anti-corruption non-governmental organization, members of the Ukrainian logistics command, the Ukrainian general staff and members of the ministry of defense.
"It was so reassuring to see the courage and the resolve of the people of the Ukraine," Wilson said. "It really reminded me so much of the American Revolution where the people understand that we are in a conflict [of] don't tread on me, live free or die."
"Don't tread on me" is a slogan that appeared on a flag designed by South Carolina's Christopher Gadsden during the American Revolution to encourage people to rebel against the tyranny of the British.
"Live free or die" originated after the war from a toast given by Gen. John Stark of New Hampshire who offered a toast – Live free or die: Death is not the worst of all evils – in lieu of his appearance at an anniversary celebration of a battle.
Wilson said protecting Ukrainian sovereignty was important to prevent further Russian invasions into Moldova and Georgia, China invading Taiwan and Iran seeking to "vaporize" the people of Israel and the United States.
He also praised the resolve of the Ukrainian people and the people of Poland.
Wilson also said the U.S. was well represented by Ambassador Bridget Brink and Deputy Chief of Mission Chris Smith.
The trip to Ukraine is Wilson's second visit to the Eastern European country. He also visited on a trip last December.
Wilson said the major differences were the installation of anti-tank barricades and destroyed and damaged buildings.