A senior US military general says the United States and its allies are considering providing Ukraine with fighter jets, a decision that would greatly escalate the level of weapons sent to Kiev.
Gene. Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Brown said the jets could come from the US or its allies.
“I can’t speculate which plane they’re going to,” Brown said in an interview at the Aspen Security Forum.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been advocating for fighter jets for months, saying Russian air supremacy has been a major stumbling block in his country’s efforts to fend off the invasion. In March, the US and NATO scuttled Poland’s proposal to send its Russian-built MiGs to Ukraine. White House national security spokesman John Kirby said at the time that the proposal could be seen as “escalating” and provoking a Russian military confrontation with NATO.
Brown said on Wednesday that Russian MiGs will not be sent to Ukraine, laughing that it will be “more difficult to get parts from the Russians”. “It will be something non-Russian,” he said. “I could probably tell you that, but I can’t tell you exactly what it will be.”
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►A bipartisan group of senators has passed a resolution recognizing Russia’s actions in Ukraine as genocide. The measure, introduced by Republican Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, says the Kremlin has committed “appalling crimes against humanity.”
► Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state-controlled RT television that Russia has added parts of southern Ukraine to its focus, which officials said were limited to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
►Britain will provide Ukraine with dozens of artillery guns, hundreds of drones and 1,600 anti-tank weapons, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced.
►Collen Kelapile, chairman of the Economic and Social Council known as ECOSOC, said there is growing concern that funding for critical UN development goals, including ending extreme poverty and hunger by 2030, could be neglected by Western donor countries that Support Ukraine militarily and financially in its war against Russia.
Russian shelling in Kharkiv kill at least 3
Russian shelling fired on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killing at least three people and injuring at least 23 others on Thursday morning.
Kharkiv regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said four people were in serious condition and a child was among those injured in the shelling. Russian troops also shelled and set fire to wheat fields, along with a market, mosque, medical facility and residential building, according to officials and witnesses.
The scattered attacks illustrate broader war goals beyond Russia’s previously declared focus on the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces of the Donbas region, which pro-Moscow separatists have partially controlled since 2014.
The bombing came after Russia on Wednesday reiterated its plans to capture areas outside eastern Ukraine. It also followed Ukrainian attacks this week on a bridge the Russians have used to resupply their troops in occupied areas near the southern Black Sea coast.
Deal closed allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported again: Turkish officials
Turkish officials say an agreement has been reached on a UN plan to unblock Ukrainian grain exports during the war. It will be signed in Istanbul on Friday.
UN Secretary-General Guterres has been working on a plan that would allow Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain stocks stranded in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports as a result of the war — a measure that could alleviate a global food crisis that could leave wheat. and other grain prices are rising. The war has left at least 22 million tons of grain trapped in Ukraine.
“The grain export agreement, which is critical to global food security, will be signed tomorrow in Istanbul under the auspices of President Erdoğan and UN Secretary-General Guterres, along with Ukrainian and Russian delegations,” Turkish President’s spokesman Recep Tayyip said. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, said in a tweet.
15,000 Russians killed, 45,000 injured in Ukraine, CIA estimates
Russian President Vladimir Putin is “all too healthy,” but the Russian military has already inflicted “significant” casualties in Ukraine, CIA Director William Burns said at the Aspen Security Forum. Burns dismissed persistent rumors that Putin, who traveled to Iran this week, is seriously ill with cancer or some other illness as unlikely.
Burns said the Russian military has adapted after suffering “catastrophic failures” early in the war. According to the latest estimates from US intelligence, the number of Russian soldiers killed is about 15,000 and perhaps 45,000 wounded, Burns said.
“In one of my recent conversations with one of my Ukrainian colleagues, he pointed out that the stupid Russians are all dead,” Burns said.
He added that Ukrainians probably suffered fewer, but still “significant” victims.
EU approves seventh round of sanctions, bans Russian gold
The European Union on Thursday announced a seventh round of sanctions against Russia, targeting Russia’s ability to fund the war. The latest crackdown is targeting Russia’s “most important export after energy” – Russian gold and jewels.
But the rollout also extends exemptions for trades for agricultural commodities and oil “to ensure we can overcome the looming global food crisis,” said Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. And technical assistance to Russia for aviation goods and technology will be allowed as needed to secure commercial air traffic.
Natural gas flows back from Russia to Europe
Natural gas began flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day shutdown for maintenance, the operator said. But gas flow was expected to lag far behind full capacity. Amid mounting tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, German officials had feared the pipeline would not be reopened at all. It is the main source of Russian gas in the country, accounting for about a third of Germany’s gas supply.
On Wednesday, the European Commission urged member states to cut natural gas use by 15% immediately or face cold homes and struggling economies this winter. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned that Russia is using gas as a “weapon” in its war with Ukraine.
‘While Russia kills, America saves’: Ukrainian first lady thanks Congress
Ukraine’s first lady Olena Zelenska on Wednesday urged the US to provide more weapons for her country’s fight “for our shared values of human life.” In her speech to Congress, Zelenska thanked the US for the billions of dollars already pledged.
“You help us and your help is very strong,” Zelenska said. “While Russia kills, America saves, and you should know it. We thank you for that.”
Zelenska showed photos of children and families destroyed by Russia’s relentless rocket attacks on Ukraine’s cities. She argued for more US air defense weapons to fend off the Russian military – “not to kill children in their strollers”.
Zelenska met with Foreign Minister Antony Blinken on Monday and with President Joe Biden on Tuesday, who tweeted after their meeting: “Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska embodies the same tenacity and resilience as the country she comes from.”
Contributions: The Associated Press
- 1 Russian shelling in Kharkiv kill at least 3
- 2 Deal closed allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported again: Turkish officials
- 3 15,000 Russians killed, 45,000 injured in Ukraine, CIA estimates
- 4 EU approves seventh round of sanctions, bans Russian gold
- 5 Natural gas flows back from Russia to Europe
- 6 ‘While Russia kills, America saves’: Ukrainian first lady thanks Congress