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Lawmakers’ response to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: weapons made in their states

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Lawmakers’ response to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: weapons made in their states

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Biden has already greenlighted an additional $200 million in weapons for Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, and plans to deploy thousands of American troops to Eastern Europe.

Congress, meanwhile, is considering approving another half billion dollars in military aid to Ukraine as part of comprehensive sanctions and security legislation introduced in recent weeks by House Democrats. and the Senate.

Now, some lawmakers are pointing to the role of home-country products in keeping Moscow at bay.

Accelerate the sale of tanks: Three House Armed Services Republicans – ranking member mike rogers of Alabama and Reps. Mike Turner from Ohio and Lisa McClain of Michigan – on Monday called on the Biden administration to expedite the sale of 250 M1A2 Abrams tanks to Poland to bolster NATO amid the standoff with Russia.

Lawmakers urged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a letter to expedite the sale, which has been on hold since last year, “to the extent possible, to help deter Russian aggression.”

“Accelerating the delivery of this capability, especially as Russia builds up its forces around Ukraine, would send an important message to both NATO and the Kremlin,” the lawmakers wrote.

Equipping Poland with Abrams, according to the trio, would not only strengthen a NATO ally, but replace Soviet equipment “while simultaneously strengthening the American industrial base”.

Polish officials had said they expected the first tanks to arrive this year when they struck the deal last summer. But General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic told investors in October that the sale may not be finalized for two years.

The Abrams is built by General Dynamics Land Systems at its factory in Lima, Ohio. The plant is outside of Turner’s congressional district in Dayton, rather Republican-owned Jim Jordan‘s neighborhood.

General Dynamics Land Systems is headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan in the McClain District.

Roger’s District is home to Anniston’s Army Depot, which performs maintenance on Abrams and other armored vehicles.

Turner, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, served as chairman of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and supported the alliance’s strengthening military posture. Those views have put Turner at odds with some of his fellow Republicans — he notably pushed back against Fox News host Tucker Carlson when he asked why the United States would support Ukrainian forces against Russia.

Spokespersons for the three lawmakers did not respond to requests for comment.

A “great role” for submarines: Two Connecticut Democrats, meanwhile, pointed to the role of Navy submarine forces in keeping Russia at bay.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal be p. Joe Courtney answered questions on Monday at a virtual event hosted by another GD subsidiary, General Dynamics Electric Boat, about how U.S. naval power could help deter Russia in the Ukraine standoff, according to Defense News, which first reported their comments. The contractor builds submarines for the Navy at its Groton shipyard in Connecticut’s eastern district of Courtney.

Although the submarines are not on the front line of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the two men stressed that naval forces have a role to play in controlling Moscow’s ambitions and stopping a wider conflict.

“There is no doubt that our submarine fleet is going to be very busy at this very tense moment and will certainly play a big role in ensuring that any possible conflict can emerge, that it does not escalate into something more serious,” Courtney said, according to Defense News.

Blumenthal warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin planned to “step up submarine warfare” to challenge the United States and “create instability” elsewhere amid the buildup on the Ukrainian border.

“Submarine warfare – because we are talking about the Mediterranean, the Black Sea as potential areas of tension and conflict – is very present even if it is not directly involved in the confrontation in the region of the eastern Ukraine,” Blumenthal said. .

Both lawmakers sit on their respective chambers’ armed services committees and advocate for keeping the Navy’s Virginia-class attack submarine and new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine. Courtney chairs the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee which oversees shipbuilding programs.

Blumenthal, who has advocated sending more weapons to the Ukrainians, was part of a bipartisan Senate delegation that visited Kyiv last week and met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

A Blumenthal spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Courtney noted that he was responding to a reporter’s question and did not proactively address the topic.

Parochialism versus deterrence: The bragging of military hardware “certainly looks parochial,” said Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight, a government watchdog group.

“Looks like this is just one more preview to come,” Smithberger said.

While US tank sales or under-deployments are unlikely to change the immediate calculus in Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, these moves could help with long-term deterrence on the continent, noted Barry Pavel, senior vice president and director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

“You can say, ‘At the end of the day, you’re going to see a lot more tanks on Poland’s eastern border. It might not be 2022 or even 2023, but it will be a much less stable situation for you, the Russia,” Pavel said. “And the same with submarines. You’re going to see more submarines.”

“It’s longer term, but I don’t think we should necessarily underestimate that, even the value of things that take a few years,” Pavel added. “You are spurring the alliance to put more forces near Russia. Nothing to do with changing the fight in Ukraine. Nothing at all. It’s not our fight directly.”

More details to come: Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill have pressured the Biden administration to ship more weapons to Ukraine and step up military efforts in an effort to deter Russia and bolster NATO.

The Biden administration has already approved $200 million in additional weapons and equipment for Kyiv, while the Pentagon has placed 8,500 troops on standby for potential deployment to Eastern Europe. Baltic countries Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia also send Ukraine more Javelin anti-armour missiles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

Lawmakers are plotting to send even more material. House and Senate Democrats have unveiled complementary bills that authorize $500 million more for the State Department in Ukraine’s military funding in addition to sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and Russian leaders and financial institutions.

A bipartisan group of senators discusses changes to upper house bill, introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (DN.J.), to win enough GOP votes to advance on the floor. Providing Ukraine with more security and anti-propaganda assistance, as well as tougher sanctions, are under consideration.

Lawmakers’ response to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis: weapons made in their states

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