Ukrainians have died because the Biden administration has been slow to provide weapons and supplies to the country’s forces as it fights against Russia, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee told Fox News.
“The Biden administration certainly needs to step up,” U.S. Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio said. “Although they have been publicly making statements of commitments to give Ukraine the tools and weapons to defend themselves, they’ve been very slow to do so.
“That, of course, has cost Ukrainian lives,” he continued.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress on Wednesday and reiterated his request for a no-fly zone and additional military equipment. Later in the day, President Biden announced the U.S. would send an additional $800 million in military aid for Ukrainian forces to continue fighting the Russian invasion.
The Russians are “shooting missiles into residential areas and dropping bombs on people who are trying to evacuate,” Turner said. “This is the air war that Zelenskyy has described in which they’re murdering so many people.”
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Secure the airspace
Ukrainians need either aircraft or rockets to secure their airspace, Turner said.
“Give them surface-to-air missiles that can make the airspace over Ukraine contested,” Turner said hours before the White House announcement.
The White House said the additional military aid it’s sending includes anti-aircraft systems, anti-armor systems, unmanned aerial systems, rifles, ammunition and body armor.
The decision came just days after the U.S. said it would rush another $200 million worth of small arms, anti-tank and anti-aircraft defenses – pushing the total U.S. supply of defensive equipment for Kyiv to $2 billion over the last year.
Turner also said the president needs to project more confidence. He told Fox News that Biden seems apprehensive on the world stage.
‘Timid and afraid’
“He seems almost timid and afraid of what Russia may do as opposed to being appalled at what Russia is doing,” Turner said, adding that Putin needs to be taken literally when he speaks.
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“When [Putin] threatens nations with nuclear weapons, he means it,” Turner told Fox News. “Saying he wants to reconstitute the geographical area of the Soviet Union, he means it.”
Supplying the Ukrainian forces to fight Russian forces is essential to diminishing Russia’s overall military capability, according to Turner.
“The president needs to be able to stand up to [Putin] and to say that the United States certainly will deter Russia and all threats from them,” Turner said.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.