Sen. Rick Scott is co-sponsoring a Senate resolution that would urge the transfer of planes and air defense systems to Ukraine, as he continues to strike the most aggressive posture in that theater out of the state’s leading Republicans.
However, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is not on board, signaling a rare but significant split between leaders who align on most issues.
Scott, who has urged a “no-fly” zone over the country, continues to demand more action from Washington to help the Ukrainian resistance, and this resolution is consistent with that push.
“President (Joe) Biden’s continued blockage of planes going to Ukraine is heartless and unreasonable. Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s unjust invasion is a fight for democracy and our security and I have been clear that the United States must lead the world in both supporting Ukraine and destroying Russia for its horrific attacks and war,” Scott said.
“Children are dying and the Ukrainian military needs planes to bring their fight to the skies and protect its people. The United States has the power to give Ukraine what it needs to win. We must use it,” Scott urged.
The resolution backs the transfer of aircraft, such as MiG-29s, and air defense systems to Ukraine. It also pushes for “continued efforts by members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and other countries around the globe to identify additional aviation and air defense capabilities to transfer to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”
It is sponsored by South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and co-sponsored by other Republican Senators: Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Joni Ernst of Iowa, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Mitt Romney of Utah, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
The resolution offers a formal response from Senators in the wake of the powerful presentation of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who appealed to Congress for more help Wednesday.
It’s worth noting, meanwhile, that Rubio did not sign on to this resolution and has cautioned against a “no-fly” zone, saying it would start “World War III.” That position is consistent with the one held by the Biden administration.
During an appearance on Fox News Thursday, the Senior Senator from Florida said that the White House was a “step behind” on developments in Ukraine and that Congress was “dragging the President to lead” in the country.
But he again urged against closing the skies over Ukraine, saying that would mean American military action on Russian soil, given the nature of the invaders’ tactics.
“A ‘no-fly’ zone, I don’t think a lot of people understand what that entails,” Rubio said on The Faulkner Focus. “It entails knocking out surface-to-air missile sites inside Russia. We have to go into Russia and knock those out. And it does involve a massive escalation. And in the end, it’s not necessarily going to solve the problem that Ukraine now faces.”