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Senator Collins Questions Top U.S. Intelligence Official on Need to Send Additional Aircraft to Ukraine

Click HERE to watch Sen. Collins’ Q&A with DIA Director Berrier. Click HERE to download high-resolution video.

Washington, D.C. – This morning, at the annual worldwide threats open hearing, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, questioned Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lieutenant General Scott Berrier about the urgent need to send additional aircraft to Ukraine.  In response to her questioning, General Berrier verified that the Ukrainians could make good use of additional aircraft to defend their own airspace. Senator Collins is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.  


Here is a transcript of the exchange:


Sen. Collins said: “I feel very strongly that the Ukrainians should be able to defend their own airspace, but obviously, they need planes. They need manned drones.  What is the current status of the battle for control of the Ukrainian airspace?  And what is your assessment of what additional aircraft or manned drones would mean for Ukraine


Director Berrier responded: “My assessment is that the Ukrainians have been somewhat effective with the assets and resources that they have.  The Russians have not achieved what I would call air dominance or air superiority over the country of Ukraine right now.  That said, they are taking some losses and they do need additional assets.  Weapons like Stingers have moved in and they have been used with effect and I think the Ukrainians will continue to be able to use those in small unit tactics with great effect.  Certainly, additional assets and resources with UAVs and an aircraft I'm sure they could make very good use of that.”


Last weekend, Senator Collins participated in a bipartisan, bicameral virtual conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who urged U.S. lawmakers to urgently provide additional aircraft so the Ukrainians can defend their own airspace. 


Today, Senator Collins signed onto a letter led by Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) urging President Biden to allow the transfer of Polish MiGs and provide other air defense systems to Ukraine.




Last week, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group in introducing the Ban Russian Energy Imports Act, which would prohibit the importation of Russian crude oil, petroleum, petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal.  Following this bipartisan push, the Biden Administration’s announced it will ban Russian energy imports.  Also last week, Senator Collins joined a group in calling on President Biden to take action to increase U.S. energy independence and help lower the prices Americans are paying to fill their gas and heating oil tanks. 


Last month, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution – cosponsored by Senator Collins – in support of Ukraine in the face of the increased Russian hostility.  She also joined a bipartisan group in sending a letter to President Biden urging his Administration to share maximum intelligence with Ukraine.  In addition, Senator Collins participated in a virtual conversation on the escalating threat posed by Russia in Eastern Europe with Ambassadors from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.