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The United States is considering a deal with Poland to send U.S. warplanes to Warsaw to replace any Soviet-era fighter jets the NATO country sends to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – during a Saturday Zoom call with more than 280 U.S. lawmakers – said the country needs fighter jets more than the anti-aircraft missiles the U.S. had agreed to, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Under the proposal, the Ukrainians would receive Russian-made MiGs that Poland inherited after the Cold War ended.
But the U.S. has not signed off on the deal yet over concerns it would be seen as an escalation, a source told Fox News.
While U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., claimed in a video posted to social media after the call that the U.S. was blocking NATO countries from sending planes, a U.S. official told Fox News that’s not true.
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“If Poland wants to send its warplanes to Ukraine, it can. The U.S. is not blocking them from doing so,” the official told Fox News.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Zelenskyy made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries to provide Russian-made planes to Ukraine. Schumer said the planes were “very much needed. And I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer.”
Zelenskyy had asked for a no-fly zone over Ukraine and sharply criticized NATO for nixing the request. President Biden and many allies believe a no-fly zone could lead to another world war.
Zelenskyy said if a no-fly zone wasn’t possible at the very least Ukraine needed planes.
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“It was very clear that he’d thought through what he needed,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., who added that Mr. Zelenskyy looked sharp.
“He looked better than I look on a Friday evening of a standard week,” Himes joked, the Journal reported.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz, Kelly Laco and Jacqui Heinrich contributed to this report.