Rift Among NATO Allies Due To Poland Offer

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  • In a rare sign of disunity among NATO allies, the Defense Department on Tuesday rejected an unexpected offer by Poland to have the U.S. take custody of Soviet-era fighter jets that would be transferred to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
  • U.S. officials said they were blindsided by Poland’s announcement, which differed from a previous proposal to have Warsaw deliver the MiG-29 jets to Kyiv directly.
  • Russia and Ukraine agreed to a humanitarian corridor in the northeastern city of Sumy, where strikes overnight hit residential buildings and killed civilians, Ukrainian officials said.

The Defense Department on Tuesday rejected an unexpected request from Poland to have the US accept custody of Soviet-era fighter jets that would be delivered to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia, in a rare indication of division among NATO allies as reported by NBC News.

Poland’s announcement

U.S. officials said they were blindsided by Poland’s announcement, which differed from a previous proposal to have Warsaw deliver the MiG-29 jets to Kyiv directly.

“We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

The U.S. has said it would support Poland’s or another NATO member’s sending jets to Ukraine but has given no indication it would act as an intermediary.

“Both departments found out about it when Poland made the announcement today.”

The Biden administration announced it was banning imports of Russian oil as Washington, and Europe continued to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies with crippling sanctions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by praising the U.S. for taking “a step that will significantly weaken the occupiers, will make them pay for the aggression, answer for the evil that they have done.”

Evacuation 

CIA Director William Burns echoed Sovsun’s dire assessment in an appearance Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee.

We will fight on the seas, in the air and defend our land at any cost.

It was not immediately clear how many MiG-29s the Poles will deliver to the U.S. airbase in Ramstein, Germany.

The evacuation from Sumy, which included around 20 buses of foreign students, began after the city faced an overnight barrage, with Russian strikes targeting residential buildings and killing more than a dozen people, including two children, according to Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to the interior ministry.

NBC News has not verified the number of people killed.

Mariupol faces an extreme humanitarian crisis, and several attempts at evacuations over the weekend ended when Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of continuing to shell the area.

Ban on oil imports

Biden announced the U.S. ban on Russian oil imports Tuesday morning.

The move, which follows the urging of Zelenskyy, is perhaps the toughest action to hit Russia’s economy over the war to date.

The transition period will give the market, businesses and supply chains more than enough time to replace Russian imports — which make up 8% of U.K. demand, the country’s secretary of state for business and energy, Kwasi Kwarteng, said on Twitter.

The oil giant Shell became the latest Western company to halt operations in the country, announcing Tuesday that it would stop buying Russian oil and gas, in addition to closing all of its service stations across the country.

Zelenskyy has urged greater support for Kyiv and more punishing measures against Moscow.

We are not afraid

Russia’s invasion has brought death and destruction but slow progress across Ukraine.

As cities across the country struggled under Russian bombardment, Zelenskyy sought to boost morale Monday.

“They forgot that we are not afraid of police vans, of tanks, of machine guns when the most important thing is on our side — truth.”

Ukraine’s military said it had stalled the Russian advance in an update early Tuesday, but the defence minister warned that Russian forces were gathering for a new wave of attacks on key areas, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.

Russian attacks have halted repairs to damaged infrastructure, including groundwater pumps and water treatment facilities, and left people drinking rainwater and collecting snow, according to Human Rights Watch.

The exact figures are likely to be much higher, it added.

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Source: NBC News

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