Republicans have accused the US President of being “timid” and backing out “every time Putin says boo”, after he rejected the ‘rent-a-MiG’ proposal. The agreement would have allowed Ukraine to use Polish MiG fighter jets to fight against Russia, with the jets being transferred from the American air base in Ramstein, Germany.
However, President Biden has turned down the idea after fearing it would cause the US to enter into direct conflict with Putin.
At least 40 out of 50 Republicans in the Senate have signed a letter asking the President to overturn that decision, according to The Telegraph.
Mr Biden had been advised that Russia would view the plan as “escalatory”, while the gain from providing Ukraine with the jets would be “low”.
Republican senator Mitt Romney said: “I believe there’s a sentiment that we’re fearful about what Putin might do and what he might consider as an escalation.
“It’s time for him to be fearful about what we might do.
“The truth of the matter is his military is exposed in Ukraine, bogged down, unfed, without fuel, they are in a very precarious position.
“He has to think about what happens if he provokes us because they could be obliterated by the forces of NATO.
“People are dying. Send them [Ukraine] the planes they need.”
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Tom Cotton, Republican senator for Arkansas, added: “There is no intelligence that these aircraft, somehow uniquely, are going to be escalatory in Vladimir Putin’s eyes.
“This is only the policy decision of the president and it is a ridiculous decision, and it makes the United States look ridiculous.
“It is yet another instance in which Joe Biden has allowed Vladimir Putin to back him down by saying ‘boo’.
“If we continue to blink every time Vladimir Putin says ‘boo’ it’s not going to stop in Ukraine, it’s not going to stop in Europe.”
The report comes after US defence department officials expressed their shock at the announcement from the Polish government.
Earlier this week, defence department spokesperson John Kirby noted that the proposal ‘raised serious concerns’ and was deemed ‘untenable’ by the US.
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Mr Kirby stated: “We are now in contact with the Polish government following the statement issued today.
“The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a US/NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance.
“It is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it.
“We will continue to consult with Poland and other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”
A senior defence official has said that Ukraine is still not using its own air force to full capacity.
He added that it is using the weapons it already has at its disposal to “great effect”.