A top US military general says the United States and its allies are considering providing Ukraine with fighter jets, a decision that would sharply escalate the level of weaponry being sent to Kyiv.
Gen. Charles Brown, Air Force chief of staff, said the jets could come from the US or its allies.
“I can’t speculate what aircraft they go to,” Brown said. in an interview at the Aspen Security Forum. “
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pleaded for fighter jets for months, saying Russia’s air supremacy has been a major stumbling block in his country’s efforts to repel 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 the proposal might be “mistaken as escalatory” and could provoke a Russian military confrontation with NATO.
Brown said Wednesday that Russian MiGs won’t be sent to Ukraine, saying with a laugh that it will “be tougher to get parts” from the Russians.
“It’ll be something non-Russian,” he said. “I could probably tell you that, but I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be.”
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►Collen Kelapile, who is president 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 might be neglected by Western donor nations supporting Ukraine militarily and financially in its war against Russia.
Natural gas again flowing from Russia to Europe
Natural gas started flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe on Thursday after a 10-day shutdown for maintenance, the operator said. But the gas flow was expected to fall well short of full capacity. Amid growing tensions over Russia’s war in Ukraine, German officials had feared that the pipeline might not reopen at all. It is the country’s main source of Russian gas, which has accounted for around a third of Germany’s gas supplies.
On Wednesday, the European Commission urged member nations to immediately cut natural gas use by 15% 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.
US plans to send more rocket launchers to Ukraine
The Pentagon is sending four more rocket artillery launchers to Ukraine as its defense against Russia in the eastern part of the country continues in what has become an increasingly brutal war of attrition, the US military’s top leaders said Wednesday.
The additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems will bring to 16 the number of long-range missile launchers provided to the Ukrainian military, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said.
The HIMARS systems can fire rockets with precision more than 40 miles and have been used to destroy Russian command posts and supply depots.
Russia’s war aims have been trimmed since mid-April after it abandoned its offensive against the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. President Vladimir Putin has redeployed Russian forces into eastern Ukraine and waged a war reliant on saturating towns and villages with tens of thousands of rockets per day, said Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Russia is keeping up its relentless shelling, and that’s a cruel tactic that harkens back to the horrors of World War I,” Austin said.
— Tom Vanden Brook
‘While Russia kills, America saves’: Ukraine first lady thanks Congress
Ukrainian 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 address to Congress, Zelenska thanked the US for the billions of dollars already committed.
“You help us and your help is very strong,” Zelenska said. “While Russia kills, America saves, and you should know about it. We thank you for that.”
Zelenska showed photos of children and families destroyed by Russia’s unrelenting missile attacks on Ukraine’s cities. She pleaded for more US air defense weaponry to fend off the Russian military – “not to kill children in their strollers.”
Zelenska met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday and President Joe Biden on Tuesday, who tweeted after their meeting, “First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska embodies the same tenacity and resilience as the country she hails from.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism