NATO members have a “green light” to send fighter jets as part of their military aid to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.

“That gets a green light,” Blinken said in an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” 

“In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if in fact they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians,” Blinken added. 

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The decision comes amid a push to provide weapons for Ukrainian forces as they continue to fight against the superior firepower of the Russians. 

The U.S. has been reportedly considering a deal with Poland to send U.S. warplanes to Warsaw to replace any Soviet-era fighter jets the NATO country sends to Ukraine. 

Under the proposal, the Ukrainians would receive Russian-made MiGs that Poland inherited after the Cold War ended, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a photo opportunity with Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu at the State Department, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

During a Saturday Zoom call with more than 280 U.S. lawmakers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine needed fighter jets more than the anti-aircraft missiles the U.S. had agreed to, the paper reported

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. referenced that plea on Sunday. Schumer said he supported the U.S. giving other nations – like Poland — help if they decide to supply Ukraine with Soviet-era jets. 

Schumer noted the jets are owned by Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe and that Ukrainian pilots are trained to use them.

“These planes and other capabilities are very much needed,” Schumer said, according to the New York Post. “Today, I am urging the administration to explore all feasible options for the transfer of these specific aircraft to Ukraine.”

“The US could commit to helping restore a donor country’s fleet in return for the transfer, and I offer up full support for this to happen,” he added. “We must help Ukraine from the ongoing Russian bombardment and siege with planes, and other capabilities.”

Meanwhile, Zelenskyy’s call for a no-fly zone over Ukraine continues to draw no support. 

In a video posted to Twitter Sunday morning, Zelenskyy delivered a message bearing subtitles in English that said, “We repeat everyday: ‘Close the sky over Ukraine!'”

The White House said it has not agreed to the no-fly restrictions because they want to keep the U.S. out of direct conflict with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will view any attempt by other countries to establish a no-fly zone as active “participation in the armed conflict.”

“The reason why that has not been a step the President has been willing to take or we have been interested in taking is because a no-fly zone requires implementation. It would require, essentially, the U.S. military shooting down Russian planes and causing a — prompting a potential direct war with Russia, something — the exact step that we want to avoid,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing Thursday. 

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On “Fox News Sunday,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa echoed that belief, arguing that a no-fly zone would not be in the best interest of the U.S., even if it was understandable for Ukraine to want one.

“I think we need to be clear that we are not going to go to war with Russia, that would be the beginning of WWIII, and it would drag all of Europe into a much broader war,” Murphy said.

“We do not want to engage directly with Russians,” Ernst noted. “But what we can do … is provide all the defensive mechanisms for President Zelenskyy and his armed services to provide their own protected airspace.”

On Sunday, Blinken also said that the U.S. was considering a ban on Russian oil imports “in coordination” with European and NATO allies — amid bipartisan calls for a full embargo. 

Blinken added that Ukrainian officials also have a plan ready in the event Zelenskyy is killed. 

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“The Ukrainians have plans in place, that I’m not going to talk about or get into any details on, to make sure that there is what we would call ‘continuity of government’ one way or another,” Blinken said. “And let me leave it at that.”



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