Ukraine war: The latest
- Russian forces renewed their bombardment of Ukrainian cities early Monday, with at least two killed in a strike on a Kyiv apartment block
- Talks between Russia and Ukraine are to resume Monday after both sides hailed progress
- Britain’s defence ministry says Russia has established a naval blockade on the Black Sea coast
- Nearly 2,200 residents of Ukraine’s besieged city of Mariupol have been killed in Russian shelling
- Volodymyr Zelensky warns NATO it is ‘only a matter of time’ before a member state is attacked, as he again called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine
- Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov says he is in Ukraine’s Hostomel, an airfield near Kyiv
- Pope Francis issues a plea for an end to the ‘massacre’ in Ukraine
- Fighting rages in the Kyiv suburbs as Russian forces advance ever closer to the capital. Only roads to the south remain open
- A US journalist is shot dead in Irpin, medics and witnesses say, becoming the first foreign reporter killed since Russia’s invasion
- Electricity has been restored at Ukraine’s retired Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was seized by Russian forces
- Russian police detain more than 800 people across 37 cities for protesting Moscow’s ‘military operation’
- Almost 2.7 million people have fled the war in Ukraine, more than 100,000 of them in the past 24 hours, the UN says. More than half have gone to Poland
A growing bipartisan group of lawmakers are ramping up calls for the U.S. to work with Poland on a proposed deal to get MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine to help in their defense against Russia after the Pentagon poured cold water on the plan earlier this month.
Republican Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut traveled as a bipartisan delegation to Poland’s eastern border to urge the administration to send aerial assistance to Ukraine.
Russia has warned that sending fighter jets or establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine would mean the U.S. and other western nations are escalating and could warrant a larger response from Moscow.
‘Vladimir Putin and the Russians seem to be saying everything is escalatory,’ Portman told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday from Poland. ‘And yet they’re escalating every single day by coming into Ukraine with these weapons.’
‘This is an illegal – this is a brutal – totally unprovoked attack,’ he added in response to the Russian target on civilians in Ukraine. ‘So, as they escalate, what the Ukrainian people are asking for is just the ability to defend themselves.’
Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures that Putin is ‘bluffing’ that further U.S. involvement – like sending fighters jets – would lead to a third world war.
‘It’s not going to be WWIII. This is all a bluff. Putin knows that no one wins a nuclear exchange,’ Graham told the program’s host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday. ‘If he ordered a preemptive strike on the United States, some general would shoot him in the head.’
Portman reiterated this assessment, claiming that since Putin already said other forms of U.S. military aid was escalatory, sending MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine would not risk intensifying the conflict.
Meanwhile, a Monday report revealed that Russia asked China for military support, including drones and economic assistance, two U.S. officials told CNN. One of the officials said that China did react to the request, but declined to detail the response.
Spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the US Liu Pengyu said in a statement regarding the request: ‘I’ve never heard of that.’ Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday accused the U.S. of ‘peddling disinformation.’
He added that the U.S. is ‘targeting China on the Ukraine issue with malicious intentions’.
News of Russia’s request comes ahead of Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in Rome on Monday.
The meeting is a follow-up to Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s virtual discussion last November, according to National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are increasing calls for the U.S. to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine after a deal with Poland fell through last week. It comes as Russia continues its assault on their neighbors to the west. Pictured: An apartment building destroyed in a Russian attack in Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday, March 14, 2022
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine – which he had anticipated would last only a few days with limited casualties – is now nearing its third week with heavy losses on both sides, as Moscow gives the first signs it could be willing to end the fighting by saying there has been ‘substantial progress’ in peace talks
A man walks near houses and cars reduced to rubble by Russian shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday, March 14
Pictured with Army airborne troops in Poland from L-R in center: Republican Senators Roger Wicker of Mississippi and Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The four traveled as a bipartisan delegation to Poland’s eastern border over the weekend to urge the Biden administration to send aerial assistance to Ukraine
Putin has warned any western action, like sending war planes to establishing a no-fly zone, would be considered an escalation and lead to further conflict. Senator Lindsey Graham said is just a ‘bluff’ and added: ‘It’s not going to be WWIII’
Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that the U.S. made clear to Beijing that there will ‘absolutely be consequences’ for any ‘large-scale’ help the Kremlin in a workaround of western sanctions.
Russia has not yet responded to reports of requesting military support.
Putin expanded the offensive to western Ukraine Sunday as forces fired missiles near the city of Lviv, hitting a large military base close to the Polish border. Local authorities say 35 people were killed and 134 injured at the military base.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov described it as a ‘terrorist attack’ on peace and security ‘near the EU-NATO border.’
Also on Sunday Russian troops killed an American video journalist working at the Polish-Ukraine border to document the global refugee crisis for a documentary for Time Studios.
The senators witnessed refuges fleeing Ukraine to Poland. Pictured: Senator Klobuchar meets with a wheelchair-ridden grandmother by the roadside as she waited for her children and grandchildren who were further back in the line
A free clothing store is launched in the former Plaza shopping mall in Krakow, Poland. Refugees from Ukraine are seen picking out clothing for their children there on Monday, March 14, 2022
The bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus also urged the Biden administration to try to facilitate the fighter jet deal with Poland, along with sending Ukraine other air defense systems like drones and surface-to-air missiles.
The group of 58 members is split evenly with 29 Democrats and 29 Republicans.
‘Russia’s advantage in this domain could soon develop into air dominance if the Ukrainians do not receive necessary military aid,’ the caucus members said in a Sunday statement.
‘We commend the Polish government for taking proactive steps to deliver MiG-29 jets to the Ukrainian Air Force. We urge assistance to help facilitate this deal, commit to replenishing our allies’ fleets with American-made aircraft and help advance the transfer of [other] aircraft to Ukraine as well.’
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said sending fighter jets to Ukraine would not spark World War III like the White House and some experts have warned
The four senators in Poland over the weekend met with the U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski
Graham suggested Sunday that the Biden administration is dragging its feet on sending aircraft to Ukraine and taking other larger moves in Eastern Europe because it doesn’t see an outcome where Putin loses.
‘If we go all in to crush the Russian economy, if we help the Ukrainians with the weapons they need, we should be taking every Soviet bloc country with S-100, S-200, S-300, any aircraft missile systems and flood them into the Ukraine to regain control of Ukrainian skies,’ he said.
‘I think the Ukrainians can win but what breaks my heart is that it appears to me that Biden is more worried about Putin losing than Ukraine winning,’ the South Carolina Republican lamented. ‘And that is despicable and sad.’
‘In my eyes, he’s a menace to mankind. He’s a war criminal. And he needs to be taken out by his own people,’ Graham continued. ‘If we spent more time thinking about how to help Ukraine win than worrying about how to keep Putin in power, we would be better off.’
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