Dear President Biden,
We write today urging you to continue to work with our NATO Allies to provide the Ukrainian Air Force with the additional aircraft needed to defend and secure its skies. In light of reports that you are exploring the option of working with Poland to transfer Soviet-era aircraft to Ukraine, we want to express our support for this effort and encourage you to implement this policy without further delay, including by backfilling Poland's aircraft supply to ensure their security.
On Saturday, March 5th, President Zelenskyy spoke to Members of Congress, describing the grim and distressing situation facing the people of Ukraine following Russia's unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine's sovereign territory. We commend you for the support you have provided to Ukraine and the sanctions and measures implemented swiftly, in coordination with our allies and partners, in response to Russia's aggression thus far.
There is more work to do. The Ukrainian Air Force was hit hard in the early days of the war and lost significant numbers of aircraft. Despite this, Ukrainian pilots have continued to courageously provide air support for ground troops and defend Ukrainian territory. However, the Ukrainian Air Force requires additional aircraft to secure its skies and protect Ukrainian civilians, who continue to be disproportionately targeted by Russian forces. We have watched the Kremlin purposefully strike hospitals, schools, and residential areas. This is unacceptable.
We understand that imposing a no-fly zone in Ukraine at this time raises concern about a possible direct NATO confrontation with Russian forces, which President Putin could use as an excuse to further escalate the conflict. That is why it is even more essential that we work with our NATO Allies -- including Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria -- who are in possession of the Soviet-era jets familiar to the Ukrainian Air Force and that are essential assets for Ukrainians working to defend their sovereign territory. On Sunday, March 6th, Secretary Blinken stated that the U.S. fully backed any member of NATO sending fighter planes to Ukraine. Understandably, reports indicate Poland has voiced concern about transferring these critical assets without backfill, which could degrade their own defensive capabilities and readiness as well as NATO's overall. In order to ensure NATO retains the necessary capabilities, we urge you to provide our NATO Allies who transfer Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine other airframes, such as the F-16, to bolster their own defenses.
By working to transfer aircraft to Ukraine swiftly, the United States and our NATO Allies can continue to demonstrate our staunch support for Ukraine's democracy and sovereignty. We stand ready to assist you in any way necessary to ensure our NATO Allies are able to facilitate a transfer of aircraft to Ukraine rapidly and efficiently.
We appreciate your continued efforts and attention to providing Ukraine with the resources it needs to protect its sovereignty and freedom.