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Nato member Slovakia to send Ukraine its fleet of Soviet-era fighter jets – The Independent

Mar 17, 2023

Moment Russian jet crashes into US drone

Slovakia will send its 13-strong fleet of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, becoming the second Nato member behind Poland to answer president Volodymyr Zelensky’s pleas for planes to help Kyiv repel Russia’s invasion.

Prime minister Eduard Heger announced his government’s unanimous decision on Friday to send the grounded fleet of Soviet-era jets, just hours after Poland’s Andrzej Duda declared plans to send four jets within days, with more to follow.

The Kremlin retorted on Friday that the fighter jets would be destroyed and would not make a difference to the course of the conflict.

It came as Moscow announced that China’s president Xi Jinping has accepted an invitation by Vladimir Putin to conduct a state visit to Russia on Monday.

China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, just weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, and Beijing has recently offered to broker peace in the war.

Meanwhile, Russia was likely trying to recover debris from the US surveillance drone it allegedly intercepted over the Black Sea, according to the Pentagon.


Kremlin vows to destroy Slovakian and Polish fighter jets

Following Slovakia and Poland’s pledges to send Ukraine fighter jets, the Kremlin has retorted that it will destroy the Soviet-era planes and that they will make no impact on the course of the war.

Announcing the decision, Estonia’s prime minister Eduard Heger said that his government is “on the right side of history.” Earlier, Mr Heger tweeted that military aid was key to ensuring Ukraine can defend itself and all of Europe against Russia.

Defense minister Jaroslav Nad said Slovakia will receive €200m from the European Union as compensation and unspecified arms from the United States worth €700m in return for sending its 13-strong fleet – which was grounded last year – to Kyiv.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 10:40


Slovakia to give Ukraine fleet of fighter jets

Slovakia has become the second Nato member to approve plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

Prime minister Eduard Heger announced his government’s unanimous decision to give Ukraine its fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets – which Slovakia no longer uses.

On Thursday, Poland’s president said his country will give Ukraine around a dozen MiG-29 fighter jets.

President Andrzej Duda said Poland will hand over four of the Soviet-made warplanes in the coming days and others that need servicing later.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 09:50


Russia decorates pilots for intercepting US drone

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu presented pilots with awards for preventing a US drone from entering the area of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Russian state media has reported, citing Moscow’s defence ministry.

The drone crashed into the Black Sea on Tuesday after being intercepted by Russian fighter jets, according to Washington.

Russia denies that its jets came into contact with the drone, but said it would seek to recover the debris from the Black Sea – an attempt the US insisted was highly unlikely to be successful.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 09:19


Russian losses mean commanders face choice between offensives and ‘conducting credible defence’, says UK

Russia’s combat power is so depleted that Vladimir Putin’s commanders “will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defence of the full line”, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has claimed.

Russian and Wagner Group forces have obtained footholds west of the Bakhmutka River in the centre of Bakhmut in recent days, with Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to defend the west of the town, according to UK intelligence,

“However, more broadly across the front line, Russia is conducting some of the lowest rates of local offensive action that has been seen since at least January 2023,” the ministry said.

“This is most likely because Russian forces have temporarily depleted the deployed formations’ combat power to such an extent that even local offensive actions are not currently sustainable.

“Russian leaders will likely seek to regenerate the offensive potential of the force once personnel and munition stocks are replenished. In the meantime, commanders will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defence of the full line.”

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 08:55


Russia likely trying to recover US drone debris in Black Sea, Pentagon says

The Pentagon has said it has “indications that Russia is likely making an effort to try to recover” the US drone it alleges was intercepted by Moscow’s fighter jets over the Black Sea.

Russia had previously stated its intention to look for debris in deep waters near Crimea, and a US official told Reuters that Russian ships had been seen near the area where the drone had crashed, though they did not appear to have recovered any parts of the drone yet.

The Pentagon said it believed it was “very unlikely that they would be able to recover anything useful”.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 08:27


Xi’s state visit aims to deepen bilateral trust with Russia, says China

China’s president Xi Jinping will exchange opinions on major international and regional issues with Vladimir Putin during his state visit to Russia, China’s foreign ministry has said.

The objective of the visit is to further deepen bilateral trust, spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 07:59


China’s Xi Jinping to meet Vladimir Putin in state visit to Russia next week, Kremlin says

Chinese president Xi Jinping will accept an invite by Vladimir Putin to conduct a state visit to Russia next week, the Kremlin has announced.

China and Russia struck a “no limits” partnership in February 2022, just weeks before the invasion of Ukraine, and last month Beijing offered to broker peace in the war.

“During the talks, they will discuss topical issues of further development of comprehensive partnership relations and strategic cooperation between Russia and China,” the Kremlin said, adding: “A number of important bilateral documents will be signed.”

Meanwhile, in a rare phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, told his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba this week that Beijing is concerned about the war spinning out of control.

“We hope that all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained, resume peace talks as soon as possible, and push for a return to the track of political settlement,” Mr Qin was quoted by Beijing as saying.

“China will continue to play a constructive role toward reaching a cease-fire, ending warfare, mitigating the crisis and restoring peace,” he said.

Andy Gregory17 March 2023 07:39


Russia has committed ‘widespread’ war crimes in Ukraine, UN-backed inquiry says

Russian attacks against civilians in Ukraine, including systematic torture and killing in occupied regions, amount to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, according to a report from a UN-backed inquiry.

The sweeping human rights report, released a year to the day after a Russian airstrike on a theater in Mariupol killed hundreds sheltering inside, marked a highly unusual condemnation of a member of the UN Security Council.

Among potential crimes against humanity, the report cited repeated attacks targeting Ukrainian infrastructure since the fall that left hundreds of thousands without heat and electricity during the coldest months, as well as the “systematic and widespread” use of torture across multiple regions under Russian occupation.

(Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Sam Rkaina17 March 2023 07:00


Marjorie Taylor Greene calls claims that Putin plans to invade more of Europe ‘lies’

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls claims that Putin plans to invade more of Europe ‘lies’

Sam Rkaina17 March 2023 06:30


Why China is trying to mediate in the Ukraine invasion

Mary Dejevsky writes: “So taken up was the Western world with reiterating its support for Ukraine a year after the Russian invasion, that it barely registered how a very large power on the other side of the world had marked the anniversary in a rather different way.

“Even as the United States, the UK and the Europeans were girding themselves for another year of conflict and competing for laurels in the supply of arms, China came out with… a peace plan.

“To the extent that the plan received any Western attention at all, it was dismissive. The general message was that now was no time for talking, and anyway that China had no business – and no credibility – in setting itself up as a potential go-between.”


Sam Rkaina17 March 2023 06:00

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