Alexander Vindman & Ukraine: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Alexander Vindman arrives for a closed door deposition.

Getty Alexander Vindman arrives for a closed door deposition.

Alexander Vindman has led a quiet life of service in the military. Born in Ukraine, this immigrant would find the American dream as he joined the Army. As Vindman traveled the world on deployments, the military official saw combat and received a Purple Heart for his service. A gained reputation for excellence combined with language skills helped him get assignments that took him back to Ukraine and Russia.

The Lieutenant Colonel came to the attention of the American public as well as elected officials with his testimony concerning Trump’d dealings with the Ukraine. Two events, one involving Ambassador Sondland and the other involving Trump himself, would thrust this unlikely witness into the spotlight. Along the way, Vindman has dealt with accusations that he is a “Never Trumper” and even questioning his loyalty to America.

Here’s what you need to know:

1.Vindman Was Born in Ukraine

Long before he had heard the names Biden or Trump, Vindman would share a very personal connection to the Ukraine. He was born there in 1975, along with a twin brother names Yevgeny. They would lose their mother at age three and create the momentum for their journey to America. Their father, Semyon, along with the brothers, traveled to the United States.

Vindman spoke of his father during testimony to Congress. “Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream,” the military official stated. Those elements would help shape their life in America.

Once there, the family would live in Brooklyn. During this time, both Alexander and Yevgeny expanded their language beyond Russian. As they learned English, they also adapted to the American way of life. The family also caught the eye of photographer Carol Kitman. Her photography featured the twins as they walked with their grandmother.

Vindman’s grandmother and the boys also has a brush with fame long after she had passed. Filmmaker Ken Burns released a documentary about of the Statue of Liberty. Among the many stills and images selected for the film, one is close to the Vindman family. It features the photo of grandmother and the twin boys in their usual neighborhood.

2.His Extensive Military Service Led to Time Spent at the Ukrainian Embassy

Alexander Vindman graduated from college in 1998 and went into the military in 1999. He would establish an international resume quickly. Soon after his training was complete, he spent went to South Korea as part of his first oversees deployment. It also sent him into combat missions, leading to a purple heart for his heroics.

After being accepted into foreign area service, the Lieutenant Colonel found himself situated at posts in the Russian and Ukrainian embassies. His abilities with Russian and Ukrainian languages gave him a needed advantage in all areas. Vindman’s accomplishments over his time set him up for work in the Pentagon. He completed assignments, then segueing into a full time job at the Pentagon for three years.

The time spent both at home and abroad brought him to the attention of the Trump administration and selected defense officials. He began working with the National Security Council, NSC for short. Under his role with the NSC, the army official would go to various events and interact with foreign dignitaries. He was one of the selected American officials to represent the US at the Ukranian Presidential inauguration.

3.He Spoke To Several House Committees About His Worries Concerning Ukraine Related Activities

Vindman was scheduled to testify before three House committees looking into matters surrounding Ukraine. In all, he spoke with the House Foreign Affairs, House Intelligence, and House Oversight Committees. Among his testimony, Vindman relayed his concerns about two specific points in the US and Ukranian timelines.

The first incident involved Vindman’s discomfort with the events surrounding a July 10th meeting. In it, Ambassador Sondland pressed Ukrainian officials to look at issues related to the 2016 election. According to Vindman, the more important aspect was delving into a company called Burisma. The later’s importance stemmed from its Biden connections.

The second and more well-known incident leads directly to Donald Trump. It is the July 25th call that has been talked about publicly, with a version of the transcript released by the White House. Once again, the conversation turned to investigating ties to the Biden family. According to Vindman, demanding a “foreign government investigate” any American citizen went far beyond the normal considerations.

4.Vindman Plans on Staying at the NSC

As soon as Vindman’s testimony came to light, many in the GOP began a campaign to plant seeds of doubt about the long serving Lieutenant Colonel. Trump himself even got involved with tweets that encouraged readers to discount anything they heard from the witness. More importantly, Trump and other officials sought to portray Vindman as a “Never Trumper.”

The term is something that the Trump campaign set into motion as they sought to classify those who opposed his candidacy. Other politicians and officials would also be labeled with the term if they voiced any opposition to Trump. His accusations also fuel questions of loyalty towards Vindman. VIndman’s birth in the Ukraine has often been questioned as part of this defense.

Vindman has no intention of leaving the NSC. As of his November 2019 testimony, the witness instead hopes to return to work with no further consequences. According to CNN, sources say he has no intention of quiting or retiring. As he told a House committee he, “served this country in a nonpartisan manner … with the utmost respect and professionalism for both the Republican and Democratic administrations.”

5.The Lieutenant Colonel is a Highly Decorated Official

Time in the Ukraine and Russia brought Lieutenant Colonel Vindman some of the military’s top awards. For the official, it was just another day in his service. For others, the recognition was an example of his excellence in service to America. None of the awards or his service would come into question until his possibly damaging testimony to the Trump White House.

As stated earlier, one of his important awards was for winning the Purple Heart. It came from his military service seeing combat in Iraq. This is not his only medal by far, but one often cited first in his biography. He has also won a Meritorious Service Medal and Army Services Ribbon among a range of highly sought after accolades.

His family takes an active role in military service. Brother Yevgeny has achieved the Lieutenant Colonel. Much like his Alexander, this brother took a path that led to the National Security Council. In his position, the twin works with legal issues that may arise among the Council. To be more specific, he looks at the potential ramifications and ethical dilemmas that face this long established group.