Senate Republicans aren't worried about sparking World War III by sending more US weapons to Ukraine. They say Putin is already 'escalating every single day.'
- Senate Republicans want Biden to send
Ukrainewhatever weapons it needs to defeat Russia.
- Supplying 'lethal aid' is already happening, the GOP said, and Putin has objected to that.
A hawkish group of Senate Republicans said supplying Ukraine with all the "lethal military aid" it needs to repel Russian invaders won't draw the US any deeper into the conflict than it already is because Russian President
"He said 'We're at war with the United States' when we put the sanctions on," Sen.
Risch was one of 15 Republican lawmakers who repeatedly called on President
"This notion that providing additional lethal weaponry — which we've already been providing — is escalatory, I just don't buy it," Portman said at the Capitol. "Stinger missiles are taking down Russian airplanes with Russian pilots in them already. What we're talking about is just giving Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves."
Biden on Wednesday warned that the Ukraine-Russia war could be a "long and difficult one" and announced the US is sending $800 million worth of "cutting-edge systems" to Ukraine as part of a new defense package.
During Zelenskyy's televised address to Congress, the Ukrainian president shared a video showing the Russian attacks and destruction, leaving many lawmakers in tears.
Portman said the televised carnage Zelenskyy shared with Congress makes it "very difficult to say that the Russians are not escalating every single day."
"If you saw that video today, you can see they have now purposely targeted not just civilian targets, but hospitals and daycare centers. And in one case a maternity hospital," Portman said of Putin's ongoing assault. "He is literally killing innocent civilians, girls and boys, men and women, and grandparents in order to try to bludgeon them into submission. If that's not escalatory, I don't know what is."
Every single Republican lawmaker who spoke, however, stopped short of calling for committing US troops to the fight.
"I'm not suggesting that we put boots on the ground," Portman said. But I am suggesting that we do everything we can possibly do, short of that, in order to protect a sovereign country that is a great ally of ours."
"America must do more," Ernst said. "We know Putin doesn't stop at the border of Ukraine."
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