U.S. President Joe Biden is being urged by officials to provide long-range drones to the Ukrainian military, which would enable it to break a blockade of Russian warships preventing cargo from crossing the Black Sea.
A bipartisan group of 16 senior lawmakers from both parties wrote to Vice President Biden on Tuesday, urging him to rethink his administration’s June decision to block the sale of four General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle armed combat drones. The Pentagon had expressed concerns that the drones’ pricey radar and surveillance equipment might fall into Russian hands.
The drones, which can fly long-range missions at great altitude and can carry four Hellfire missiles, have been requested by Ukrainian military officials numerous times, the lawmakers noted. The weaponry’s short training period—roughly 27 days, according to the letter—could have a big impact on the Ukrainian offensive, especially given that its current arsenal hasn’t been very successful at breaking the blockade.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which is now only composed of seven ships, is still extremely vulnerable. British intelligence recently warned that the entire flotilla might be vulnerable to attack if a successful strike on Russian ports.