Hyde-Smith, colleagues press for info on U.S. support of Ukraine

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, March 31, 2022

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, is among a bipartisan group of Senators who are pressing National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to produce details on the speed, specifics and supply of U.S. lethal aid to support Ukraine as it makes progress against their Russian invaders.

In a letter to Sullivan, the 25 Senators ask the White House to clarify the U.S. mission in Ukraine and “commit to a military support plan to enable Ukraine to win this unlawful war of aggression.” The Senators cite concerns that U.S. and allied lethal aid is flowing too slowly and that Ukrainian forces require specific lethal assistance to repel Vladimir Putin’s assault.

“The U.S. mission in Ukraine must go beyond ensuring the country merely has the means to defend itself against Russian aggression. The strategy must deliver Ukraine necessary weapons to defend itself, counter the Russian forces’ advance, and give the Ukrainian people a chance to win this war,” the Senators wrote. “Success cannot be a Russian-occupied Ukraine — it must be a free, independent, and sovereign Ukraine. Authoritarianism cannot prevail in this conflict. Defending freedom in Ukraine is defending freedom everywhere.”

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Regarding the U.S. provisions, risk assessments, and strategy to enable a Ukrainian victory over Russian aggression, the Senators ask Sullivan to provide:

  1. A list of all lethal and nonlethal aid provided to date and status of delivery or estimated delivery to Ukraine.
  2. A list of all equipment purchased or allocated for the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund that remains within U.S. stocks or control, and an assessment of the feasibility to provide such equipment to Ukraine.
  3. A complete list of all Army Pre-positioned Stock (APS) or Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) stocks in Europe by item and location.
  4. An analysis of available equipment within allied and partner nations that could be procured or transferred to Ukraine and subsequently backfilled with NATO equipment.
  5. A list of equipment, production capacity, and war reserve inventories the United States is capable of delivering to backfill to NATO members who have provided capabilities to Ukraine.

The Senators also point out that President Biden has authorities and funding available to provide more than $3.0 billion of lethal and nonlethal military aid to Ukraine.

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) spearheaded the letter, which was also signed by U.S. Senators Hyde-Smith, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Angus King (I-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy, M.D, (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), and Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.).

Click here to read the letter.