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Senator Collins Joins 16 Bipartisan Senators in Urging Action on Ukraine’s Request for Armed Drones

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group of 16 Senators in urging U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to take action on providing Ukrainian forces with MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones. The Pentagon has considered transferring armed Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to Ukraine for months without a final decision. 


“The American people and their representatives in Congress have strongly supported arming Ukraine to defend its homeland against Russian tyranny. Toward this end, Congress provided the Pentagon with appropriations and drawdown authority to provide Ukraine the necessary firepower,” the Senators said in part. “The timely provision of effective lethal aid to stabilize Ukrainian defenses and enable long-term resistance against future Russian aggression remains urgent.”


Ukraine's Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov and Ukraine's Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova have repeatedly requested the MQ-IC Gray Eagle. This particular UAS system's operational attributes include availability, lethality, survivability, and exportability and complement existing weapon systems used by the Ukrainians. Most important, armed UAS could find and attack Russian warships in the Black Sea, breaking its coercive blockade and alleviate dual pressures on the Ukrainian economy and global food prices. The weapon system configurations for the MQ-lC have been reviewed and exported to over twenty-five U.S. partners.


“Transferring the MQ-1 C Gray Eagle was under consideration for months across 24 assistance packages. The introduction of Iranian UAS systems supporting Russian objectives threaten to stall Ukraine's momentum. A Russian victory over Ukraine would significantly damage American security and prosperity, and enabling Ukraine's preservation of its homeland remains a moral imperative and squarely within our national interests,” the Senators continued.


Senator Collins was joined by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), John Hoeven (R-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC).


The full letter is available HERE.