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Kinzinger & Houlahan Introduce Ukraine Fighter Pilots Act

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Washington, DC, June 17, 2022 | Maura Gillespie (202-225-3635) | comments
Today, U.S. Air Force Veterans Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) introduced legislation to train Ukrainian fighter pilots and crews on US military air assets.
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Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Air Force Veterans Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) introduced legislation to train Ukrainian fighter pilots and crews on US military air assets. This bill would allow the United States to begin training Ukrainian pilots and air crew members on F-15’s, F-16’s, and other air platforms while the Administration continues to consider sending such equipment.

The Representatives remain hopeful that there won’t be a need for further escalation, but they both agree that it’s critical for the Ukrainian military to be trained and familiar with these air platforms should Russia continue their malign campaign against Ukraine’s sovereignty. Regardless of whether the United States and its allies deploy such equipment, this program will strengthen the Ukrainian military and ensure their long-term stability and security.

Having both served in the United States Air Force, Representatives Kinzinger and Houlahan recognize the importance of establishing aerial combat supremacy. Given that public reporting suggests neither the Ukrainians nor the Russians have established air superiority thus far, the United States can help Ukraine change the situation in the air domain, giving Ukrainian forces a decisive advantage in the war.

“We have watched for months as the Ukrainian people and global community fight back against the unprovoked, unjust attacks from Russia. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy rose to the occasion, calling on his fellow Ukrainians to join the fight and showing the world what true leadership and democratic unity looks like. The United States stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they continue to defend their sovereignty. I hope we will continue helping them put an end to Russia’s ruthless war,” said Rep. Kinzinger. “The Ukrainian military needs our immediate assistance, especially with air assets. So today, I’m introducing legislation with my fellow Air Force veteran colleague Rep. Houlahan to authorize funding to provide training and military assistance to Ukrainian military pilots. It’s critical that we support Ukraine as they continue fighting for democracy and ensure they are prepared for any potential Russian escalation.”

“The resilient people of Ukraine are defending themselves against Putin’s war better than most of the world ever thought possible, which is exactly why we must maintain our support at this critical moment,” said Rep. Houlahan. “Because this conflict continues to rage on, we need to rethink our long-term strategic planning to help our Ukrainian allies—this includes training pilots on additional aircraft that might become available to them. It’s simple: should our military decide to transfer aircraft, we need their pilots to be ready to utilize them immediately. Our bipartisan effort will ensure that training happens. The United States continues to be a stalwart supporter of Ukraine’s fight for sovereignty, shown by the additional $1 billion in security assistance authorized this week. As an Air Force veteran, I’m especially grateful to work with Rep. Kinzinger on this critical step forward in the fight for democracy around the world.”

The full text of the bill can be found attached and on the Congressman’s website here. The Congressman’s letter to the United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin can also be found here.

RELATED:

TV: Rep Kinzinger on CBS: Authorization for Use of Military Force

TV: Rep. Kinzinger on CNN: Russian Onslaught, Supplying Ukraine

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