Ernst calls Putin a ‘weak man,’ urges Biden to send MiGs, defensive aid to Ukraine
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Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “weak man” Saturday after leading a bipartisan delegation to Europe in solidarity with Ukraine.
“It is a truly weak man that targets children, elderly women – Putin is a weak leader. He may be trying to project strength, but he is a weak man,” she told reporters.
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Ernst, along with nine of her colleagues on both sides of the aisle during a press conference in Poland, said Putin needs to be held accountable for his deadly invasion in to Ukraine more than three weeks ago.
The senator urged President Biden to enact “peace through strengthen” and called on all NATO nations to show greater tenacity in their support of Kyiv.
“This is not a time to be weak,” she said. “We need to show resolve, all of the nations need to show resolve.”
The U.S., Canada and other European nations have provided military support for Ukraine, but the U.S. has said no to the transfer of MiG-29 warplanes, citing concerns that it could further escalate Russian aggression outside of Ukraine’s borders.
Ernst, a combat veteran, once again called on Biden to adhere to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for increased air defenses as Russian forces continue to pummel civilian and military targets.
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Russian forces have launched over 1,080 missiles at Ukraine and in an emotional plea this week, Zelenskyy asked that the U.S. either enforce a no-fly zone or send warplanes, S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems or other “similar systems” to help them counter the barrage of missile fire.
“We need to provide the Ukrainians with the military equipment that they have requested. They have the absolute will to fight, and they are fighting well,” Ernst told reporters. “We have to expedite what they are requesting, making sure that they have the means to push back for their own free and sovereign country.”
Ernst, who penned a letter to the president along with 40 other GOP senators earlier this month urging him to send Kyiv “airpower and air defenses,” would not comment on whether every senator that traveled to Poland supports sending Ukraine warplanes.
Fox News Digital could not immediately reach Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine or Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York on whether they supported Ernst’s calls.
A spokesperson for Nevada Democrat Sen. Jacky Rosen said she “believes the U.S. must help Ukraine strengthen its ability to defend its airspace by providing them with air defense systems and drones, and working with our NATO allies to get them the fighter jets they need.”
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Biden said the U.S. would work with Ukraine to get it the defensive aid it needs and approved another $1 billion in security assistance this week, which includes 3,000 shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles and 100 tactical unmanned aerial systems.
Congress also approved a $14 billion package to support Ukraine through lethal and humanitarian aid.