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A growing number of Republican and Democratic lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to ease an agreement With Poland sending MiG-29s to Ukraine for additional air support as Russia continues its multi-front war on the country.
Last week, the Pentagon rejected Poland’s proposal from the United States and NATO MiG-29 To the Ukrainian military, arguing that the move could be considered “escalatory” and could lead to a “significant Russian response” that could increase the prospects of a military escalation with NATO.
On Monday, a group of 15 bipartisan House members wrote a letter to President Biden, urging the administration to provide additional defense materials to Ukraine and strengthen economic sanctions directed against Russia.
“Despite heroic and skillful resistance by Ukrainian forces, Russia currently maintains air superiority over Ukraine,” they wrote. “Russia’s advantage in this area could soon develop into air dominance if the Ukrainians did not receive the necessary military assistance.”
Lawmakers have called for the use of Stinger missiles, saying they believe they “will continue to play a critical role in fighting Russia’s superiority in the air.”
“The United States should also help provide more comprehensive air defense systems to defend Ukraine and its people,” they wrote, adding that the United States should coordinate with NATO allies that possess S-300 surface-to-air missile systems “to facilitate and expedite the transfer of these systems to Ukraine.” .
“Providing Soviet-era platforms previously operated and maintained by Ukrainian service personnel will be essential to their success on the battlefield and will also protect American defense technology from falling into Russian hands,” they wrote.
Regarding Poland’s proposal, the lawmakers said they “praise the Polish government for taking proactive steps to deliver MiG-29s to the Ukrainian Air Force”.
“We urge you to help facilitate this deal, commit to supplying US-made aircraft to our allies’ fleets, and help advance the transfer of Su-25s to Ukraine as well,” they wrote, noting that it is “a workable solution. To urgently provide Ukrainians with aircraft flown by Ukrainian pilots and personnel can Their service is their maintenance.”
“We also believe that the United States should seriously consider strategies to provide greater UAV capability to the Ukrainians, because they have already used Bayraktar TB2 drones successfully on the battlefield,” they added. “Unmanned platforms—to include both intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities—could be critical to Ukrainian efforts to combat the Russian advance.”
Lawmakers also called for tougher economic sanctions – specifically against “third parties that do business with Russian entities and individuals”.
“If necessary, secondary sanctions should be imposed on Chinese banks and companies doing business with Russia, in order to ensure that Russia is unable to find a way to compensate for its exclusion from US and European banking systems and markets,” they wrote.
The calls for sanctions against banks and companies linked to China come after US intelligence officials said Russia asked China for military and economic help after it invaded Ukraine.
The Biden administration said it had “deep concerns about China’s siding with Russia at this time.”
Meanwhile, the lawmakers also called for a boost in humanitarian aid to Ukraine as more than two million Ukrainians have fled the country since the first Russian invasion on February 24.
The letter to Biden was signed by Republicans and Democrats, including Representatives Jared Golden, Maine Democrat, Jason Crowe, Colo Democrat, and Don Bacon, KNPP Republican. , Brian Fitzpatrick, R-P., James Beard, R-Ind., John Katko, RNY., Bill Johnson, RN.C, Conor Lamb, D-Pa., Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., Chris Pappas, DN.H. , Chrissy Houlahan, D-Penn, Michael Waltz, R-Florida, Jim Costa, D-Calif., and Kayali Kahile, D-Hawaii.
Meanwhile, their letter to Biden comes after 58 members of the Problem Solving bloc — which includes both Republicans and Democrats — urged the United States to provide additional defense items — including MiGs — to Ukraine.
Poland surprised the United States last week by offering to give its entire MiG-29 fleet fighter planes to United State In exchange for the opportunity to buy American F-16s as part of a deal to strengthen the Ukrainian air force with the Poles upgrading NATO planes.
The next day, the Pentagon rejected the move and said it raised concerns about deploying warplanes from a US base in a NATO ally to fight Russian forces.
However, the Pentagon said, “The best way to support Ukraine’s defense is by providing them with much-needed weapons and systems to defeat Russian aggression, particularly air defense and counter-armour.”
“The intelligence community has assessed that the transfer of the MiG-29s could be mistaken as escalatory and could lead to a major Russian response that could increase the potential for a military escalation with NATO,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
Calls from members of Congress to support the MiG-29 transport come as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the United States and Western allies to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
Biden and NATO have ruled out a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying its imposition would put the United States and NATO in direct confrontation with Russia and widen the conflict.
Ukraine is not a member of NATO, so it is not subject to the provisions of Article 5 of NATO which states that when one member state is attacked, all member states will take action to help.
Estonia’s parliament on Monday called on UN member states to “take immediate steps to establish a no-fly zone” over Ukraine to prevent further civilian casualties as Russia’s multi-front war against the country intensifies.
Estonia is the first NATO member country to have a body officially calling for the implementation of a no-fly zone amid the ongoing Russian invasion.
at the same time, Zelensky He is scheduled to deliver a virtual address to members of Congress on Wednesday.