US senators urge Pentagon to send advanced drones to Ukraine

A bipartisan group of 16 US senators has asked the President Joe Biden administration to consider giving Ukraine advanced drones to fight Russian forces.

In a Tuesday letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the signatories, including members on the Senate Armed Services Committee, urged the secretary to supply Ukraine with MQ-1C, also known as Gray Eagle, drones, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“The long-term upside of providing Ukraine with the MQ-1C is significant and has the potential to drive the strategic course of the war in Ukraine’s favor,” the legislators wrote in the letter.

“The timely provision of effective lethal aid to stabilize Ukrainian defenses and enable long-term resistance against future Russian operation remains urgent,” they wrote.

The legislators asked Austin to explain by November 30 why the Pentagon had so far refused to provide Ukraine with MQ-1C drones.

Among the signatories were Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa), Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is the outgoing ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Sen. Mark Kelly (D., Ariz.).

The Biden administration has been opposed to providing Kiev with the MQ-1C over concerns that the Russians might get hold of one or more of the drones and find access to the technology used in the aircraft.

In their letter, the senators urged the Pentagon to reconsider that position.

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