The top general in NATO told lawmakers that Ukraine needs U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets and extended-range artillery to help Kyiv beat back expected Russian offensive operations on the battlefield.
Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican, said he discussed Ukraine’s needs during the recent Munich Security Conference with top military leaders, including Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
“They’re all in favor of us putting not only F-16s in but longer-ranger artillery to take out the Iranian drones in Crimea,” Mr. McCaul, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Gen. Cavoli’s apparent support of providing Kyiv with F-16s and weapons like the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) goes far beyond what the Biden administration is saying in public.
In an interview to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Biden told ABC that Kyiv doesn’t need the F-16, despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s regular requests for the fighters. Mr. Biden said military officials are telling him there is no current justification for them.
“I am ruling it out for now,” Mr. Biden said, according to ABC.
But, Mr. McCaul said providing Ukraine with what they need — including F-16s and ATACMS — will help hasten the end of the war.
“When we give them what they can really use and ask for, they win,” he said. “When we slow-walk and slow-pace this thing, it drags out. And that’s precisely what [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants.”
He noted that the congressional delegation to Munich had Democrats and Republicans who said lawmakers in Washington will prioritize weapons systems for Ukraine in future appropriations bills.
“I think with enough pressure from Congress on both sides of the aisle, we can get into Ukraine what they really need to win this fight. Otherwise, what are we doing [there]?” Mr. McCaul said.