A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Biden this week to urge him to send warplanes to Ukraine to escalate US involvement in the nation’s war with Ukraine.
Five members of the House of Representatives said modern jets like the F-16 “could prove crucial in controlling Ukrainian airspace this year.” Kiev has long urged the US to provide fighter jets, but President Biden told reporters weeks ago he would not do so.
The letter was led by Maine Democratic Assemblyman Jared Golden, with GOP Assemblymen Tony Gonzales, Texas, and Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin, and Democratic Assemblymen Chrissy Houlahan, PA, and Jason Crow, Colorado, signing it. All five have military experience.
The bipartisan group first praised Biden for his continued support for Ukraine, before urging him to send the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft or a similar fourth-generation aircraft “as soon as possible.”
A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives wrote to President Biden this week to urge him to send warplanes to Ukraine to escalate US involvement in the nation’s war with Ukraine
“In contrast to the current ground-based air defense platforms currently used by Ukrainian armed forces, the ability of fighter jets to quickly traverse a large battlefield carrying a significant weapon payload could prove crucial for controlling Ukrainian airspace this year,” it said read it in the letter .com verified by DailyMail.
It’s just Capitol Hill’s latest push to give Kiev greater defense capabilities to defeat Russia’s expected spring offensive, though US lawmakers are divided on the issue of the fighter jets.
Some say Ukrainians are not equipped to use the jets, while others have expressed concerns that the US is already too deeply involved in a conflict with no clear end to it.
Time is of the essence, lawmakers say, given the time it takes to train pilots on such sophisticated aircraft. However, they found that Ukrainian pilots had trained with US pilots in 2011 and again in 2018 after the Russian invasion of Crimea.
Ukraine has reportedly identified up to 50 English-speaking pilots who could be trained to operate the jets within three months.
When asked late last month whether the US would send the fighter jets that Kiev is hard-pressed to receive, Biden replied with a simple “no.”
Biden said he would “talk” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about Ukraine’s recent request for advanced weapons, after agreeing to send 31 Abrams tanks just last week.
Ukraine said it would remain committed to the planes, noting that the US had said no to providing other weapons such as tanks before relenting over time.
“All types of support went through the ‘no’ phase in the beginning. As of today, that means “no,” said Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnaht was quoted by the Ukrainian newspaper as saying that Kiev needs up to 200 multi-role fighter jets – such as F-16s – to defend its airspace.
The US President is known to change his mind if the conflict in the East drags on – just last year he said that handing over tanks to Ukraine could lead to World War III.
The letter was signed by Maine Democratic Assemblyman Jared Golden, above, with GOP Assemblymen Tony Gonzales, Texas, and Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin, and Democratic Assemblymen Chrissy Houlahan, PA, and Jason Crow, Colorado. All five have military experience
A Ukrainian soldier of the “24 separate mechanized brigade named after King Danylo” fires a mortar at Russian positions at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on February 17, 2023
An armed Ukrainian soldier guards a damaged power plant during a visit by the Dutch Prime Minister, near Kiev (Kiev), Ukraine, February 17, 2023
Biden changed course after initially urging Germany to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. German lawmakers insisted they did not want to be the first to pledge to send tanks to Ukraine lest they incur the wrath of Russia.
Now 11 countries have pledged tanks, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, sixteen have pledged artillery and ammunition, and nine others have offered air defense artillery, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, told reporters this week.
Milley even declared that Russia “lost the war,” a point Russia would certainly refute. Both sides are preparing spring offensives.
“Russia lost,” he told reporters. “They have lost strategically, operationally and tactically, and are paying a tremendous price on the battlefield. But until Putin ends his war of his choice, the international community will continue to support Ukraine; the equipment and skills it takes to defend yourself. Through this group, together we support Ukraine’s ability to defend its territory, protect its citizens and liberate its occupied territory.”
Defense Sec Lloyd Austin said Russia has resulted in it pouring large numbers of untrained troops into its war effort.