More on the drone encounter with video…..
Pentagon leaders are increasingly second guessing the Ukraine staying in the fight for Bakhmut…
Ammo burn rates….
Do they have enough for The Spring Offence ?
Poland says it’s handing over 4 Russian type Mig-29 fighter Jets immediately…
Biden is still against allowing F-16’s that the Ukrainian’s pushing hard for….
Slovakia might also sent more jets…..
Turkey signals that it will go ahead and approve the Finland NATO application…
NOT the Sweden one…
Here is what to know:
The fallout from a collision between a Russian warplane and an American spy drone continued, as the Pentagon’s European Command on Thursday released the first declassified video images of the events leading up to the episode, which has threatened to escalate tensions between the United States and Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s military reported unusual Russian naval activity in the Black Sea on Thursday, saying more ships were deployed in its waters in an scattered formation that suggested they were searching for the wreckage of the U.S. drone.
Poland on Thursday said it had detained nine foreigners accused of spying for Russia and preparing operations to disrupt the flow of Western arms into neighboring Ukraine.
Ukrainian military officials on Thursday expressed confidence in their ability to hold onto Bakhmut, even as military analysts and Western officials warned that the battle was unsustainable.
The Ukrainian military is firing thousands of artillery shells a day as it tries to hold the eastern city of Bakhmut, a pace that American and European officials say is unsustainable and could jeopardize a planned springtime campaign that they hope will prove decisive.
The bombardment has been so intense that the Pentagon raised concerns with Kyiv recently after several days of nonstop artillery firing, two U.S. officials said, highlighting the tension between Ukraine’s decision to defend Bakhmut at all costs and its hopes for retaking territory in the spring. One of those officials said the Americans warned Ukraine against wasting ammunition at a key time.
With so much riding on a Ukrainian counteroffensive, the United States and Britain are preparing to ship thousands of NATO and Soviet-type artillery rounds and rockets to help shore up supplies for a coming Ukrainian offensive.
But a senior American defense official described that as a “last-ditch effort” because Ukraine’s allies do not have enough ammunition to keep up with Ukraine’s pace and their stocks are critically low. Western manufacturers are ramping up production, but it will take many months for new supplies to begin meeting demand.
This has put Kyiv in an increasingly perilous position: Its troops are likely to have one meaningful opportunity this year to go on the offensive, push back Russian forces and retake land that was occupied after the invasion began last year. And they will probably have do it while contending with persistent ammunition shortages….
The U.S. military released footage it said shows the moment two Russian fighter jets intercepted a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone over the Black Sea. The video, edited by the Air Force, shows an aircraft approaching the drone and releasing what appears to be fuel.
Russia said it is working to recover the debris.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Poland is in the process of upgrading its air force with South Korean-made FA-50 fighters and American-made F-35s, as it rapidly expands its military amid the war in neighboring Ukraine. It has about a dozen of the MiG-29s available that are “mostly” functional, Duda said, adding that the remainder will be “serviced and prepared” before also being donated.
- Poland has played a leading role in getting taboo-breaking weaponry to Ukraine. As Germany stalled on sending tanks this year, Duda announced that Poland had decided to send them. “We are literally sending these MiGs to Ukraine at this moment,” Duda said.
- While Ukraine’s allies had not previously sent fighter jets, they had collected spare parts to help get Ukraine’s own MiGs into flying condition.
- The declassified military footage shows a Russian jet releasing fuel and then colliding with the drone, according to a U.S. military statement. Pentagon officials said that after the jet collided with the U.S. aircraft, the drone’s camera feed was lost temporarily. When the camera feed returned, U.S. officials said, new damage could be seen on the drone’s propeller.
- U.S. officials said the United States is investigating the incident. “We’ll be in close coordination with allies and partners at the conclusion of the investigation,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters Wednesday on a trip to Ethiopia. “I can’t speak at this point to the motive or to intent.” The confrontation is the first known altercation between U.S. and Russian forces since the war in Ukraine began.
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu blamed the incident on the United States, saying the drone entered a flight restriction zone unilaterally designated by Russia. He made that argument to Austin on the telephone, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement. “U.S. flights of strategic unmanned aerial vehicles off the coast of Crimea are provocative in nature,” the Russian statement said.
- U.S. officials lauded Ukraine for holding on to Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, where Russia has focused its war efforts in recent weeks. Milley said that in Bakhmut, Russians are only making “small, tactical advances” at “great cost,” and Austin commended the “valor” of Ukrainian soldiers for not giving up the town.
- Russian forces shelled territories in the northeastern region of Sumy, the regional military administration said on Telegram. An agricultural company building and a residential one were damaged in the attacks….
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