Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday he supports the US giving other nations help if they supply Ukraine with Soviet-era jets in its war with Russia.
The Senate Majority Leader referenced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “desperate plea” during a call Saturday for “Eastern European countries to provide Soviet-made planes to Ukraine.
“These planes and other capabilities are very much needed,” said Schumer (D-NY) in a press release. “Today, I am urging the administration to explore all feasible options for the transfer of these specific aircraft to Ukraine.”
Schumer noted that the jets are owned by Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe and that Ukrainian forces know how to use them.
“The US could commit to helping restore a donor country’s fleet in return for the transfer, and I offer up full support for this to happen,” he added. “We must help Ukraine from the ongoing Russian bombardment and siege with planes, and other capabilities.”
Zelensky, during a Zoom call with 280 US lawmakers Saturday morning, asked for help persuading Eastern European countries to send Russian-made fighter planes to Ukraine so that Zelensky’s air force pilots can fly them in combat.
On Sunday, Secretary Antony Blinken said NATO members have the “green light” to send fighter jets to Ukraine.
During an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Blinken said the US is already working with Poland to figure out “what we might be able to do to back fill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians.
“All of us together are continuing to take steps to increase the pressure on Russia through additional sanctions … as well as taking further steps to give the Ukrainians what they need to defend themselves against the Russian aggression,” said the secretary of state.