President Joe Biden called off the transfer of Poland’s MiG-29 jets to Ukraine after he feared it might escalate tensions with Russia, despite notable Republican and Democrat supporters for the deal, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.
The White House officially announced its decision to kill the idea initiated by European diplomats during a press briefing on Wednesday, saying it would not support the U.S. or Poland transferring jets to Ukraine at this time.
“We do not support the transfer of the fighters to the Ukrainian air force at this time and have no desire to see them in our custody either,” Press secretary John Kirby said.
The plan had previously received bipartisan support in Congress before being tabled.
“It’s time for Putin to be fearful of what we might do. This is war. People are dying. We need to get aircraft to President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine immediately,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, wrote on Twitter, sharing a video of the hearing where he endorses the decision.
Senate Foreign Relations chair Bob Menendez, D-N.J., sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday calling on the U.S. to replace any aircraft donated by Poland or other NATO countries to Ukraine.
“It is vital to the security of Europe and the United States that Ukrainians have every possible means of military assistance that we collectively can provide,” Menendez wrote.
“I will support efforts in the Senate to implement measures to compensate our allies that provide their aircraft for Ukraine’s defense,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused the U.S. and Poland of playing games with people’s lives, according to the Mail.
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