As if the White House requesting another $38 billion in aid for Ukraine recently wasn’t enough, a group of bipartisan senators has asked the Biden administration to provide Ukraine with the advanced MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone that would allow Kyiv to have longer-range capabilities.
Previous discussions about sending drones have led to concerns that Russia would see the move as an escalation of the war and also that the drone’s sensitive technology could fall into the wrong hands.
Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, received a letter from 16 senators that expressed “concern” regarding the administration’s refusal to provide the drones and urged the administration to give “careful reconsideration” to Ukraine’s request for the drones.
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The senators’ letter, which was led by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), said that providing the drones and long-range capability would offer “Ukraine additional lethality needed to eject Russian forces and regain occupied territory.”
Providing the drones would most likely be seen as an escalation by Moscow, given that the drones can be armed with hellfire missiles and can fly for up to 30 hours, greatly expanding Ukraine’s reach into Russia. There have been mixed reports as to whether or not the Biden administration will approve the request, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that the administration has decided against sending the drones, while other sources say that the final decision has not been made yet.
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