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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.
“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.
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.
“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.