“If we don’t get the aid, we will lose the war,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told senators yesterday in Washington. And if Ukraine loses the war, Vladimir Putin wins. On the table now is a package for $24 billion being considered by the divided Congress. It’s a lot of money, but what is the price of freedom? To the GOP far-right radicals in the House Freedom Caucus, it’s too high as they resist and keep pressure on Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy can spout bromides about being fiscally sound, but world history is being made on the field of battle as Ukrainians push back the invading Russians. They have already retaken more than half the land seized by Putin, but they need help. American and European troops are not doing the shooting, but it is our fight to defend against aggression.

On a much more limited scale, President Biden is sending Zelenskyy $325 million worth of air defense munitions, artillery ammunition, anti-armor capabilities and cluster munitions. And there will be Abrams tanks, long on Ukraine’s wish list, delivered next week. Every bit helps to fend off the Russians. But no matter how many billions the West sends, Kyiv is never going to conquer Moscow, but Moscow can — and will — conquer Kyiv without the assistance.

That was what Zelenskyy told the senators and House members and the Pentagon brass and Biden, who hosted him at the White House.

Putin has gone begging to North Korea and Iran for arms and support. That’s even more reason to aid the defending heroes, led by a Jewish comedian in green fatigues (much more fitting attire than Sen. John Fetterman’s hoodies and shorts). We’re not joking.

A comic, Zelenskyy, had a satirical series on Ukrainian TV called “Servant of the People,” where he played a high school teacher who accidentally was elected president of Ukraine. The real-life Zelenskyy then ran for that office under the banner of a new party called Servant of the People and won in a landslide.

The new president was then on that perfect call with President Donald Trump in 2019 that got Trump impeached and tried in the Senate. It’s all true.

While Trump was America’s improbable president and a disaster, this improbable president of Ukraine has inspired the world as he and his army have held off Moscow’s troops for more than a year and a half. During WWII, the Red Army, helped by American weapons and funds, defeated the world’s most fearsome war machine, the Nazi Wehrmacht.

The Red Army was then composed of Russians and Ukrainians and other Soviet peoples and now the great grandsons and great granddaughters of those heroic soldiers are now tragically fighting each other in Putin’s war. What hasn’t changed is our duty to support those who are fighting against tyranny. Putin is no Hitler, but his use of armed aggression against a peaceful neighbor is something out of Europe’s bloody past, not the 21st century.

Putin marked Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington with a new wave of missile attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. He will not give up, so he must be stopped. The Ukrainians are fighting and dying to defend their freedom. Zelenskyy needs words of support and applause. But what he really needs are the weapons and the money.

New York Daily News Editorial Board

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