As first reported by Fox News, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39) led a bipartisan letter to President Joe Biden and administration officials urging them to organize an international humanitarian aid airlift to quickly deliver urgently needed nonmilitary supplies, such as food, water and medicine, to the Ukrainian people.
Rep. Kim was joined by 19 cosigners including Reps. Lou Correa (CA-46), Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Bill Johnson (OH-06), Randy Weber (TX-14), William Timmons (SC-04), Maria Salazar (FL-27), Burgess Owens (UT-04), Fred Upton (MI-06), Randy Feenstra (IA-04), Jake Ellzey (TX-06), French Hill (AR-02), Brad Wenstrup (OH-02), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), Michelle Fischbach (MN-07), Ron Estes (KS-04), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Mike Carey (OH-15) and Dan Newhouse (WA-04).
Read the full letter HERE or see highlights below.
We write to you today in support of establishing an international humanitarian aid airlift into Ukraine to deliver urgently needed supplies to the Ukrainian people. As the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to kill civilians and destroy homes, it is necessary for the United States to act immediately to save lives.
While we commend your Administration for taking action to approve Congressional funding for humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine and working with our allies and partners to impose sanctions on Russian President Putin and his government, more must be done to support the people of Ukraine and stop the war.
As the fighting continues, many Ukrainians still in Ukraine are trapped in bomb shelters, basements, and subways where they have limited access to food, water, and medicine, among other necessary supplies. Previous agreements between Russia and Ukraine to guarantee humanitarian corridors for aid delivery into Ukraine have so far proven to be unreliable and inconsistent at distributing aid to the hardest hit areas of the country, especially as Russian shelling continues to destroy roads and endanger transportation routes. Further, U.S. intelligence warns that the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv could run out of food and water in days.
As your Administration searches for more options, we strongly urge the consideration of a humanitarian airlift of urgently needed nonmilitary supplies organized and supported by the U.S. In response, Russia would be forced to either agree to supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid or threaten to shoot down planes carrying food and water to a war-torn country, which would further isolate Russia on the world stage and motivate stronger international action.
This proposal does carry risks that planes could be shot down entering Ukrainian airspace. Therefore, we urge your Administration to immediately reach out to nations viewed as nonthreatening to recruit pilots for these flights, including Brazil, India, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. Flights flown from countries viewed as non-hostile to Russia into Ukraine for humanitarian missions makes it difficult for President Putin to declare them as enemy combatants and motivates Russian forces to take strict measures to avoid targeting them.
Further, we urge you to also instruct U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Lina Thomas-Greenfield to build support at the United Nations for an expanded international humanitarian airlift into Ukraine. This will ensure a continuous humanitarian aid corridor by air to address urgent needs from Ukrainians for basic supplies.
The U.S. has a moral responsibility to save lives where possible in Ukraine. Establishing and organizing an international humanitarian aid airlift provides the U.S. and our allies and partners with a non-escalatory method of accomplishing this while countering Putin’s goal to starve the people of Ukraine.