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NATO countries have been given the go-ahead to provide Ukraine with fighter jets as it fights to repel the invasion of Vladimir Putin’s forces, a move that was greeted my many who fear the worst for the nation that has become the latest target of Russian aggression.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the rounds on the morning talk shows where he provided insight into a growing international crisis that if not handled correctly, could lead to a full-blown war between Russia and the west, potentially drawing the U.S. into a much larger conflict with the nuclear powerhouse.
During his appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation” the nation’s top diplomat confirmed to host Margaret Brennan that NATO members have received the “green light” to send combat aircraft to aid Ukrainians in their effort to pry Putin’s claws from around their necks.
.@SecBlinken: The U.S. has given the “green light” to NATO countries if they choose to provide fighter jets to Ukraine, one day after President Zelensky made a plea to members of Congress to provide them during a Saturday Zoom call. https://t.co/liDkdNCAFI pic.twitter.com/3vHqk6YzQe
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) March 6, 2022
Brennan asked Blinken about the effect of the sanctions which along with measures taken through the “public-private partnership” such as Visa and Mastercard suspending Russian operations have been the most punitive economic actions ever taken before against a country and when he expected them to bring a halt to the fighting.
Blinken responded that the “impact of the sanctions is already devastating” pointing out a number of signs that the tightening financial vise grip is already bearing fruit with the ruble in “freefall,” the Russian stock market “shuttered” for “almost a week” and a recession taking root which he said is “having a big impact” but that Putin is “doubling down and digging in on this aggression against Ukraine.”
Brennan then asked about the fighter jets as an alternative to a no-fly zone which NATO has rejected despite the pleas of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“NATO has said none of its 30 members are willing to set up a no-fly zone,” she said. “President Biden has been very clear. He has no interest in that or combat troops. But what more can the United States do here? If, for instance, the Polish government, a NATO member wants to send fighter jets, does that get a green light from the U.S.? Or you were afraid that that will escalate tension?”
Blinken said, “No, that gets a green light,” an apparent confirmation of reports that the U.S. and NATO ally Poland were working on a deal to send the jets to Ukraine.
“In fact, we’re talking with our Polish friends right now about what we might be able to do to backfill their needs if in fact, they choose to provide these fighter jets to the Ukrainians,” he said. “What could we do? How can we help to make sure that they get something to backfill the planes that they’re handing over to- to the Ukrainians? We’re in very active discussions with them about that.”
The fighter planes will be surely be welcomed by the Ukrainian government but the move falls far short of the “no-fly zone” that Zelenskyy wanted and during an appearance on another Sunday morning show, NBC’s “Meet The Press.” Blinken was pressed by host Chuck Todd on why it has been ruled out.
Todd: Why rule out the no-fly zone? Why not make Putin think it's possible?
Blinken, after a long explanation: "…For everything we're doing for Ukraine, the president also has a responsibility to not get us into a direct conflict, a direct war with Russia, a nuclear power…" pic.twitter.com/1RQxR2lezp
— The Recount (@therecount) March 6, 2022
“The president’s been very clear about one thing all along as well,” Blinken continued, “which is we’re not gonna put the United States in direct conflict with Russia, not have American planes flying against Russian planes or our soldiers on the ground in Ukraine because for everything we’re doing for Ukraine, the president also has a responsibility to not get us into a direct conflict, direct war with Russia, a nuclear power, and risk a war that expands even beyond Ukraine to Europe, that’s clearly not in our interest. What we’re trying to do is end this war in Ukraine, not start a larger one.”
“Keep in mind, again, keep in mind what a no-fly zone means,” he added, “just so people understand too what a no-fly zone means, it means that if you declare a space no-fly, and a Russian plane flies through it, it means we have to shoot it down.”
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