Graham is ready for the worst.
On Wednesday (March 16), Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.) introduced a resolution, compelling President Joe Biden to facilitate transferring air defense systems and fighter jets to Ukraine.
Backed by nine fellow GOP Senators, Graham’s resolution gives formal credence to Senate support for Biden to transfer aircraft like MiG-29s and air defense systems to help Ukraine fend off Russia. It would also introduce Senate backing to efforts by other countries wanting to transfer aircraft and defense systems to Ukraine.
Addressing the Senate, Graham established his plea, “urging the Senate to speak with one voice.”
He continued saying, “If we had a vote on the resolution to supply the Ukrainian military with the MiG fighters and other air defense systems, it would be a shot in the arm to Ukrainian people and their military.”
He also noted that the move would “be a blow to Putin,” sharing his belief that the resolution “could help the outcome of this conflict.”
Graham made his resolution hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a virtual address to Congress, requesting additional assistance from the U.S. and making a direct plea to Biden.
During his address, Zelenskyy repeated his request for the U.S. to assist in establishing a no-fly zone, something the administration and lawmakers from both parties rejected. The consensus is that a no-fly zone ー requiring the U.S. and other European countries to shoot down Russian planes that enter Ukrainian air space ー could ignite a world war.
Conceding that his request for a no-fly zone ー also rejected by European allies and Canada ー was unlikely, Zelenskyy made a plea for more aircraft, military equipment, and air defense systems, in addition to the U.S. bolstering sanctions against Russia.
The Pentagon has previously rejected plans to have Poland transfer its fleet of MiGs to a U.S. base in Germany, enabling the United States to send the aircraft to Ukraine, saying it would be deemed an escalation by Russia.
Senior Congressional Democrats backed the Pentagon’s decision.
Despite this, sending the planes to Ukraine has also gained considerable bipartisan support, with Graham predicting that if Congress voted on his resolution, it would “overwhelmingly pass.”
However, military experts, like Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, warn, “The MiG wouldn’t last a second in Ukrainian air space right now.”