Camp of Ukrainians in the Kiev metro station

Displaced Ukrainians take shelter in an auditorium in Lviv, Ukraine on March 2. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Despite the vast challenges and brutal violence facing the Ukrainian people, Senator Bob Menendez says he does not believe the situation is hopeless.

“I don’t come to that conclusion, although they face what could be considered overwhelming odds,” Menendez told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“When we freeze Russia’s reserves abroad and [Putin] can’t get access to it…he doesn’t have the money to fuel a lot of that in the longer term,” Menendez said, adding, “so I still believe the Ukrainian people have a real chance here , but it is undoubtedly very difficult.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues. Menendez noted that “Russia has a 40-mile caravan of critical equipment that it [does] don’t seem to be able to cope.” As such, Menendez says, “they have turned to the indiscriminate bombings that we have seen in recent days which are condemnable.”

The bombing of civilian buildings and hospitals, Menendez says, “[amounts] to war crimes.”

The New Jersey Democrat is among a group of bipartisan senators calling for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukrainians in the United States.

Continuing his live chat with Tapper, Menendez explained why such a cause is so important.

“You can’t take Ukrainians who come into the United States legally and are here, and then send them back to a war zone. You can’t tell Europe and our allies… who are doing what they must by accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees, then [have them] send people from Ukraine back to Ukraine,” Menendez said, concluding that he “would expect the administration to eventually grant TPS. I don’t see how they don’t.”

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