Iowa senator leads GOP call for President Biden to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 11:23 AM EST

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is among a group of Republicans calling on the Biden administration to act immediately to support Ukraine by supplying fighter jets to protect its airspace.

“Our message today to the President send the MiGs. Arm our Ukrainian friends right now,” said Ernst on Thursday.

Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, held a press conference with fellow Republicans including Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C).

It’s after the group sent a letter signed by 42 Republicans to President Biden urging him to take action following the Defense Department’s decision to reject Poland’s plans to provide MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

“My fear is that if we worry about provoking Russia in the face of what they’ve done they’ll just continue to do it,” said Portman.

“What if Putin gets away with this,” asked Graham. “What if he’s able to destroy Ukraine and gets away with it and we don’t do all that we can?”

The White House said they’re basing the decision off intelligence, and adding aircraft isn’t going to make a significant difference.

“I don’t think we’ve held back in any capacity in providing assistance, having the backs of the Ukrainians, but we are not going to do things that we think will not be in the best interest of the United States or our NATO allies,” said Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary on Thursday. “And, that’s where the bar is for us.”

Ernst said Republicans will continue to press the president if fighter jets aren’t provided to Ukraine.

“We will continue pressing,” she said. “I can guarantee that. We are working on the Omnibus bill and we hope to have a number of these measures in there.”

Thursday’s press conference comes after Ernst introduced legislation days before to allow the Secretary of Defense to expedite the transfer of weapons including aircraft to Ukraine.

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