Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the most senior elected Jewish official in US history, invoked the Holocaust in making the case for an assistance package for Ukraine.
“There’s a holocaust going on,” Schumer, a New York Democrat, said at a press conference on Tuesday as he was wrapping up negotiations for a massive $1.5 trillion spending bill that congressional leaders unveiled on Wednesday morning.
The package includes just under $14 billion in assistance for Ukraine as the country faces down the invasion launched last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“When you see that people are lined up on buses just to leave a conflict zone, and Putin’s artillery shells those buses, that is just below humanity, below dignity,” Schumer said. “We also need to give the brave Ukrainian fighting forces who were doing much better than anyone ever imagined the arms they need, whether it be Javelins or Stingers.”
However, the Pentagon on Wednesday conclusively rejected a plan offered by Poland to transfer its MiG-29 fighter jets for use by Ukraine to battle Russian forces there, saying the “high risk” move could have been interpreted as an escalation.
After US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke with his Polish counterpart earlier today, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that “we do not support the transfer of additional fighter aircraft to the Ukrainian Air Force at this time, and therefore have no desire to see them in our custody.”
“That is something that we are not going to explore right now,” Kirby added.