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California's 40th District

President Joe Biden should organize an international humanitarian aid airlift to quickly deliver non-military supplies to Ukrainians, said U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) and a bipartisan group of her congressional colleagues.

“In response, Russia would be forced to either agree to supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid or threaten to shoot down planes carrying food and water to a war-torn country, which would further isolate Russia on the world stage and motivate stronger international action,” wrote Rep. Kim, who led 19 members in sending a March 21 letter to Biden. 

While planes could be shot down entering Ukrainian airspace, the members suggested that the Biden administration reach out to nations viewed as non-threatening to recruit pilots for these flights, including Brazil, India, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

“Flights flown from countries viewed as non-hostile to Russia into Ukraine for humanitarian missions makes it difficult for President Putin to declare them as enemy combatants and motivates Russian forces to take strict measures to avoid targeting them,” wrote the 20 lawmakers, who in addition to Rep. Kim included U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Fred Upton (R-MI), French Hill (R-AR), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Ron Estes (R-KS), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Lou Correa (D-CA).

Establishing and organizing an international humanitarian aid airlift would provide the U.S. and its allies and partners with a non-escalatory method of providing aid while countering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goal to starve Ukrainians, they wrote.

Rep. Kim and her colleagues are particularly concerned about the trapped Ukrainians taking cover in bomb shelters, basements and subways where they have limited access to food, water and medicine, among other necessary supplies, according to their letter. 

“Previous agreements between Russia and Ukraine to guarantee humanitarian corridors for aid delivery into Ukraine have so far proven to be unreliable and inconsistent at distributing aid to the hardest-hit areas of the country, especially as Russian shelling continues to destroy roads and endanger transportation routes,” they wrote.

The lawmakers also urged Biden to instruct U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield to build support at the United Nations for an expanded international humanitarian airlift into Ukraine that “will ensure a continuous humanitarian aid corridor by air to address urgent needs from Ukrainians for basic supplies.”

The Ripon Advance

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