NATIONAL NEWS

GOP senators urge Biden to send Polish warplanes to Ukraine

Mar 11, 2022, 5:57 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 3:38 pm

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) questions Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland as ...

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) questions Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland as she testifies before a Senate Foreign Relation Committee hearing on Ukraine on March 08, 2022 in Washington, DC. The committee examined Russia's invasion of Ukraine and worldwide response. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican U.S. senators are imploring the Biden administration to reverse course and allow the transfer of Poland’s MiG fighter jets to the Ukrainians to fight the Russian invasion, a sign the Defense Department’s rejection of the offer may be running into steep resistance on Capitol Hill.

Forty GOP senators signed onto a letter Thursday from Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mitt Romney of Utah urging President Joe Biden to answer the plea from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who told lawmakers over the weekend that if the U.S. could not help with a no-fly zone over his skies, it could at least send more planes for his people to defend against the attack from Russia.

“Enough talk. People are dying,” Romney said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “Send them the planes they need.”

The groundswell of Republican opposition to the Pentagon’s rejection of Poland’s offer has apparently caught the attention of the highest ranks of the administration — senators said Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was reaching out in calls to Capitol Hill.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it’s hard to see the destruction — especially the Russian airstrike on a maternity hospital — and be opposed to providing the Ukrainians “with these essential aircraft.”

The Biden administration had initially indicated that the Soviet-era planes now in NATO ally Poland could be transferred to help provide air support as Ukraine battles Russia’s assault. But the Pentagon on Wednesday slammed the door on a surprise offer from Poland to instead transfer the planes to NATO by handing them off at a U.S. base in Germany. The Pentagon said the planes are not the most effective weaponry and the Polish plan could run a “high risk” of escalating the war.

The GOP senators rejected the administration’s arguments, saying the U.S. needs to stand by its commitments and provide Zelenskyy what he needs to defend Ukraine, as ordinary people take up arms in what many around the world have viewed as a heroic effort to save their country.

“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 senators wrote.

The Republican senators dismissed the Pentagon’s concern that transferring the planes through NATO would be viewed by Russia as provocative at a time when the U.S. is already sending anti-aircraft missiles and other military support to the Ukrainians.

The senators also argued that the logistical problems the administration has raised against replacing Poland’s MiGs with U.S. F-16s, which have been promised elsewhere, could be handled in other ways, perhaps with other surplus aircraft in U.S. storage.

While some on and off Capitol Hill have argued that lethal drones and anti-aircraft missiles could be more effective in the fight against Russian airpower, some of the GOP senators argued for an all-of-the-above approach.

Mostly the senators were hopeful — if not confident — that if they applied pressure to the White House it would reverse course. That has happened repeatedly in recent weeks, as lawmakers pushed the White House to take a tougher stand than the Biden administration first appeared willing to take.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky criticized the Biden administration for moving too slowly to send military help to Ukraine. Congress on Thursday gave final approval to a $13.6 billion package of military and humanitarian assistance.

“This administration has been a step behind every step of the way,” McConnell said.

“The Ukrainians need airplanes, they need equipment to fight with,” McConnell said. “They need this assistance and they need it right now.”

Senators pointed to the bipartisan push from Congress for sanctions on Russia, an end to the Nord Stream 2 energy pipeline and a ban on Russian oil imports as examples of policy decisions where the White House did a 180-degree turn, as Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, put it at the news conference.

“Every hour that goes by that we are not stepping up with our aid, whether it’s legal or otherwise, we have Ukrainians dying,” Ernst said. “We need to provide everything we can.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Former President Donald Trump attends a campaign event ahead of the Republican presidential primary...

 Marshall Cohen, CNN

Illinois judge removes Trump from ballot because of ‘insurrectionist ban’

An Illinois judge has removed former President Donald Trump from the state’s ballot based on the 14th Amendment’s so-called “insurrectionist ban.”

2 hours ago

Electronic Arts plans to lay off 5% of its employees, making it the latest company in the gaming an...

Clare Duffy, CNN

Electronic Arts to lay off 5% of staff as gaming industry layoffs widen

Electronic Arts plans to lay off 5% of its employees, making it the latest company in the gaming and tech space to reduce its workforce.

2 hours ago

Studies have shown that food packaging materials such as microwave popcorn bags are a major source ...

Brenda Goodman, CNN

Certain types of ‘forever chemicals’ will no longer be used in US food packaging, FDA says

Certain kinds of greaseproofing “forever” chemicals will no longer be used in food packaging in the U.S.

3 hours ago

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., center, speaks about a bill to establish federal protections for IVF ...

Mary Clare Jalonick and Stephen Groves, Associated Press

Republicans block Senate bill to protect nationwide access to IVF treatments

Senate Republicans have blocked legislation that would protect access to in vitro fertilization, objecting to a vote on the issue Wednesday even after widespread backlash to a recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court that threatens the practice.

3 hours ago

FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

Older US adults should get another COVID-19 shot, health officials recommend

Older U.S. adults should roll up their sleeves for another COVID-19 shot, even if they got a booster in the fall, U.S. health officials said Wednesday.

3 hours ago

FILE - An unsold 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee sports-utilty vehicle stands for inspection outside a Cos...

Associated Press

Chrysler recalling more than 330,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees due to steering wheel issue

Chrysler is recalling more than 330,00 Jeep Grand Cherokees because of a steering wheel issue that may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

GOP senators urge Biden to send Polish warplanes to Ukraine