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‘Act Without Delay’: GOP Senators Urge Biden To Expedite Transfer Of Fighter Jets To Ukraine

A group of more than 40 Republican senators urged President Joe Biden in a letter on Thursday to “act without delay” to provide fighter jets to help defend the people of Ukraine.

The letter, led by Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, included most of the Senate’s GOP members, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“While we commend the lethal aid that your Administration has sent to Ukraine thus far, we strongly disagree with your decision to delay and deny Poland the option to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine,” the senators wrote.

“Your Administration champions the $1 billion in defense articles provided to Ukraine over the past 13 months and has definitively stated there are no restrictions in your current suite of authorities to adequately respond to Russia’s lawless and bloody invasion of Ukraine,” they added.

“We implore you to direct your Department of Defense to facilitate the transfer of aircraft, air defense systems, and other capabilities by and through our NATO partners immediately,” they said.

The letter by the GOP senators concluded with a repeated call to urgency.

“We implore you to act without delay to provide urgently needed airpower that will bolster the ability of the Ukrainian armed forces to defend their country and help save civilian lives,” the GOP leaders concluded.

The news came following a Wednesday report from the Pentagon that the U.S. did not support the transfer of fighter jets from Poland to the U.S. directly to Ukraine, noting it could be seen as “escalatory” to Russia.

“The intelligence community has assessed that the transfer of MiG-29s to Ukraine may be mistaken as escalatory and could result in significant Russian reaction that might increase the prospects of a military escalation with NATO,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday.

“Therefore, we also assess the transfer of the MiG-29s to Ukraine to be high-risk,” he added.

Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the United States had given NATO countries a “greenlight” to send fighter jets to Ukraine if necessary to assist in their war against Russia. The Daily Wire reported:

Blinken specifically said Ukraine’s neighbor Poland has permission to send the planes and that the U.S. has already been in discussion with the Polish government about the matter, CBS reported:

“That gets a green-light,” Blinken said in an interview with “Face the Nation” when asked whether the Polish government, a member of NATO, could send fighter planes to Ukraine.  “In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians. What can we do? How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they are handing over to the Ukrainians?”

Additionally, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova told “Face the Nation” that she hopes the polish planes will come “as soon as possible.”

“We are working with our American, especially, friends and allies, on the steady supply of all the ammunition and anti-air, anti-tank and planes to be able to effectively defend our country,” Markarova said.

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