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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

US House caucus to which resident commissioner belongs urges help for Ukraine

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By John McPhaul

The U.S. House of Representative Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus (PSC), of which Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón is a member, on Sunday expressed its position on helping Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion.

“We, the 58 members of the Problem Solvers Caucus, urge the continued commitment of the United States to the sovereignty of Ukraine and the freedom of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s ongoing invasion,” the PSC said in a written statement. “As the [Biden] Administration considers next steps to support the Ukrainian government and counter Russian aggression, we firmly believe that the United States should provide additional defense materiel to Ukrainians protecting their nation.”

Despite the heroic and skillful resistance of the Ukrainian forces, Russia currently retains air superiority over Ukraine, the PSC noted. Russia’s advantage in this domain could soon become air dominance if the Ukrainians do not receive the necessary military assistance, the caucus said.

“We believe that Stinger missiles will continue to be essential in combating Russia’s superiority in the air,” the PSC said. “With Russia’s alarming disregard for Ukrainian civilian casualties, the United States must also help supply more comprehensive air defense systems to defend Ukraine and the people.”

Specifically, the caucus said, the United States should work with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies that possess the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to facilitate and expedite the transfer of those systems to Ukraine. Providing Soviet-era platforms that members of the Ukrainian military have previously operated and maintained will be essential to their success on the battlefield and will also protect U.S. defense technology from falling into Russian hands, it said.

“We also understand that there are ongoing discussions between the United States, Poland and other Eastern European allies regarding the transfer of aircraft to Ukraine. We congratulate the Polish government for taking proactive steps to deliver MiG-29 aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force,” the PSC said. “We urge assistance to help facilitate this deal, commit to refueling our allies’ fleets with US-made aircraft, and also help advance the transfer of Su-25 aircraft to Ukraine. Similar to an S-300 transfer, this is a pragmatic solution, to quickly provide Ukrainians with aircraft that their pilots have flown and that their armed forces members can maintain.”

PSC members also said they believe that the U.S. should seriously consider strategies to provide more drone capability to the Ukrainians, as they have already used Bayraktar TB2 drones successfully on the battlefield. Unmanned platforms, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike capabilities, could prove critical to Ukraine’s efforts to combat Russian advances, they said.

“The United States must act decisively to support Ukraine,” the caucus said. “We must urge our allies and partners to do the same.”

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