Senator John Cornyn suggested that the Biden administration not take fighter jets off the tables.
“I think this is something we need to consider carefully,” he told DailyMail.com.
“We should provide the Ukrainians with everything they can effectively use to defeat the Russian invasion,” the Texan Republican added. “The administration has been a bit slow to give them what they need.”
He said the US need not worry about upsetting Russia.
“The Russians, they claim these movements have been “escalating” for over a year now, everything we do. At some point we have to realize that they are just bluffing a bit.’
Asked on Monday if the US would send the warplanes Kiev is trying hard to receive, Biden replied with a simple “no.”
On Tuesday, Biden said he would “go talk” with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about Ukraine’s latest request for advanced weapons, after agreeing last week to send 31 Abrams tanks he once said could lead to the Third World War.
Ukraine said it would continue to lobby for the planes, noting that the US had said no to supplying other weapons, such as tanks, before conceding over time.
“All forms of help went through the no-phase in the beginning. This means ‘no’ from today,” said Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
Biden also said “I’m not sure” when asked if he would take a trip to Europe next month to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion on February 24.
Biden did say he would visit Ukraine-bordering Poland, but he didn’t know when.
Senator Lindsey Graham, RS.C., who has been at the forefront of the fight to send F-16s to Ukraine, tweeted that Biden’s comment was “another example of not seizing the moment.”
On Tuesday, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnaht was quoted by the Ukrainian outlet as saying Kiev needs up to 200 multi-role fighter jets — such as F-16s — to defend its skies.
A number of Senate Republicans are urging President Biden to take the breaks to take Ukraine’s request for F-16 fighter jets off the table
He said that Russia’s fighter jets currently outnumber Ukraine’s by five or six to one.
Last week, before Biden’s comments, Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said in an interview with MSNBC that the US would discuss fighter jets “very carefully” with Kiev and its allies.
“We have not ruled out or excluded any specific systems,” he said.
Asked about Biden’s exclusion from the fighter jets, Sen. Thom Tillis, RN.C., told DailyMail.com, “I think it would be unwise to leave that off the table for a possible future move.”
He added that senators had not yet been briefed after the U.S. turnaround on tanks and other offensive weapons, but he wondered what comes next in the “right order” to help Ukraine win the war.
“We’ve got a lot of things moving there, we’re talking tanks, we’re talking armored personnel carriers, plus some of the missile defense systems, HIMARS, patriots,” Tillis said. “Overall, I think we should keep the discussion going, but the question is based on our Department of Defense’s best military advice on what is the right order and timing to have the best impact.”
Senator Josh Hawley, who has spoken out that he wants the US to focus less on Ukraine and more on China, told DailyMail.com of Biden taking F-16s off the table, “I have no earthly idea what his policy is.”
Hawley denounced that the US had agreed to send the Abrams tanks – agreeing to Germany’s demand that it not be the only Western country to commit to providing tanks.
In the weeks leading up to the announcement of US tanks, Biden had pleaded with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to clear the country’s Leopard 2 tanks for shipment to Ukraine.
The Kiev troops were convinced that if the Western tanks were not on the front line by spring, Ukraine would not be able to repel the impending Russian offensive and launch its own offensive.
Germany did not want to bear the brunt of Russia’s anger by being the first to offer Ukraine the major new weapon system.
Biden’s announcement of the Abrams tanks coincided with the announcement that Germany would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks. The US is also supplying 500 armored vehicles as part of the package.
Nearly a year ago, Biden said sending tanks would cause World War III.
“The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains pour in with American pilots and American crews, you see… it’s called World War III, okay? Let’s get it straight here guys,” he said last March. “We are not going to fight World War III in Ukraine.”
“Our message to the Germans and Europeans in general should be: You must take the lead in Europe and we will lead with China,” Hawley said.
“The Biden administration is sending a message that we will be ready for the lead in the defense of Ukraine, we will be ready for what is to come in the proxy war with Russia, and the Europeans can sit back. So it’s such a series of mixed messages.’
Senator Marco Rubio, a top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned whether it would be effective to use F-16s in Ukraine given the “reach and reach” of Russian anti-aircraft systems, and whether Ukrainian pilots could be trained to fly them. use quickly.
“The bigger problem here is nobody can tell you what the plan is, the long-term plan for Ukraine,” he told DailyMail.com.
“Part of that plan would tell you what you need and what you don’t need.”