At Munich Security Conference, Senator Kelly Meets with U.S., Foreign Leaders one year after Russian Invasion

Over the weekend, Arizona Senator Kelly, a Navy combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, attended the Munich Security Conference, where he met with U.S. military and foreign leaders nearly one year after Russia launched its illegal invasion of Ukraine. Kelly traveled to Munich as part of a congressional delegation named in honor of Senator John McCain, who traditionally led the American delegation to the conference.

Kelly met with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and Mayor of Kyiv, the commanders of the U.S. European and Africa Commands, the NATO Secretary General, and other foreign leaders. The dominant topic was Ukraine’s defense against Russia, and how the United States and its allies can continue to supply Ukraine with the weapons it needs to be successful. 

See below for coverage of Senator Kelly at the Munich Security Conference:

Politico: F-16s, longer-range missiles could help Ukraine beat Russia, U.S. general privately tells lawmakers

[…] Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who met with Cavoli and Ukrainian leaders in Munich, said he supports identifying Ukrainian pilots and maintenance crews and bringing them to the United States for training.

“It is the right thing to do to come up with a plan to identify personnel to be trained, along with the maintainers and develop a syllabus” on how to operate and repair the complex fourth-generation fighter plane. Kelly was not one of the five people who confirmed that Cavoli discussed sending more advanced weapons.

Kelly, a retired Navy pilot with combat experience, added that Ukrainians are interested in using the warplane to hit Russian air defense systems from far away, which would then allow other aircraft and drones to operate more freely across the country, particularly in the east and south where the fighting is concentrated. […]

Reuters: Ukraine presses U.S. Congress members for F-16 jets

[…] Kelly and three other lawmakers who spoke to Reuters about their talks with Ukrainian officials said they believed that support was building in Congress to provide Ukraine with F-16s, one of the world’s most versatile multi-role jetfighters.

Ukraine’s air force has adapted U.S.-made AGM-88 HARM air-to-surface rockets to fire from their Soviet-designed MiG-29 jetfighters. The rockets home in on the electronic transmissions from radars of surface-to-air missile units.

The Ukrainians said their pilots could more effectively target Russian S-300 and S-400 air defense missile units with the AGM-88 if the rockets were fired using the F-16s more advanced avionics, lawmakers said.

“They contended that they need that airplane for the SEAD (suppression of enemy air defenses) mission,” said Kelly. “They probably think they can do a better job at taking out the S-400s.” […]