Republicans Want Biden to Do More to Arm Ukraine – In criticizing President Joe Biden’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Congressional Republicans have called on the Biden administration to do more to arm Ukraine.
Following an impassioned speech to Congress by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday, legislators responded overwhelmingly in favor of continuing indirect assistance to Ukrainian soldiers fighting Russian invaders.
Democratic Senator for California Dianne Feinstein issued a statement in support of Zelenskyy’s request for additional weaponry and munitions.
“I support President Zelenskyy’s requests for advanced defensive weaponry and believe the United States must continue to lead the way in bringing international diplomatic and economic pressure to bear on Russia to end this war,” she wrote.
While Democrats praise President Joe Biden’s implementation of sweeping financial sanctions against Russian institutions and oligarchs, Republicans have been less than optimistic about his efforts so far.
“Our own president needs to step up his game. We’re not doing nearly enough quickly enough to help the Ukrainians,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after Zelenskyy’s speech. “Comparing Zelenskyy to Biden is depressing.”
Following the speech, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor about additional steps that he and other Republicans expect Biden to take, including working more closely with NATO allies to give Ukraine more “effective, longer-range air defense capabilities.”
Graham Introduces Resolution to Push Biden to Send Jets to Ukraine
McConnel’s comments come just days after the White House refused an offer from Poland to transfer its fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets to Poland, citing concerns that it may be considered an “escalation” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Biden administration expressed real concern that facilitating such an exchange may be considered an act of war by the Russian president.
On Wednesday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a resolution urging the president to support Poland’s efforts to transfer a fleet of fighter jets and air defense systems to Ukraine.
“I’m urging the Senate to speak with one voice, to meet the moment… 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,” Graham said.
Graham’s resolution was supported by nine other Republican senators.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of President Joe Biden’s best Republican allies, also criticized the president for being too slow to implement sanctions and pushed him to be quicker in his future responses.
“It seems like on sanctions, on the import of Russian oil into this country, that he’s had to be pulled by Congress. And the transfer of the Polish [planes] is another example,” Collins said.
Republican Senator Rick Scott of Florida also said that if the president does not support the transfer of jets from Poland to Ukraine, then he should support a no-fly zone in Ukraine – a measure that would require a militaristic response should Russia enter Ukrainian air space.
In their criticism of President Joe Biden’s response to the invasion of Ukraine, many Republicans are advocating for a tougher response that may be viewed as an escalation by Moscow.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.