The Pentagon has dismissed Poland’s plan to hand its MiG-29 fighter jets to the US, to donate them to Ukraine. The Polish foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, said his government was “ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MiG-29 jets to the Ramstein air base and place them at the disposal of the United States government” , amid intelligence agency warnings that Vladimir Putin is about to “double down” in his invasion. However, the Pentagon appeared to reject the proposal, saying it was not “tenable”. The US Department of Defense said the prospect of the jets departing from a base in Germany “to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance”.
Ukraine’s government accused Russia of breaking a ceasefire agreement, by shelling a route intended to allow civilians to escape the besieged city of Mariupol. Not only are residents of the port city suffering Russian bombardment, they are also living without heat, water, sanitary systems or phones.
Russia said earlier it was opening humanitarian corridors from Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol so civilians could be evacuated. Some Sumy residents, including Nigerian and Indian students, have now left the city on buses. Two million people have fled Ukraine since the war began less than two weeks ago, the UN refugee agency reported. Russian officials have pledged a fresh ceasefire at 7am GMT on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, echoed Winston Churchill and invoked the fight against Nazism as he made a direct plea to British MPs in an impassioned video address to do more to help protect his country in the fight against the Russian invasion.
Joe Biden announced that the United States will ban imports of Russian oil “to inflict further pain on Vladimir Putin”. The European Union has not joined the ban, but the European Commission said it was possible to reduce the EU’s use of fossil fuels by two thirds this year. The British government promised to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of the year.
McDonald’s became the latest western company to announce it was pausing its operations in Russia, after facing a backlash from social media users for not taking a stand on the war in Ukraine. Earlier on Tuesday, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, issued an appeal to international corporations to stop doing business in Russia. Shell, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, PepsiCo Inc and Estee Lauder are also among the companies that stopped doing business in Russia.
The World Health Organization said attacks on Ukrainian hospitals, ambulances and other healthcare facilities had increased “rapidly” in recent days and vital medical supplies were running low. The UN agency said it was working to urgently get medical supplies to Ukraine. Among the supplies running low are oxygen, insulin, PPE, surgical supplies and blood products.
The European Commission has prepared a new sanctions package against Russia and Belarus that will hit additional Russian oligarchs and politicians as well as three Belarusian banks, Reuters reported. Sources told the news agency that the sanctions would ban three Belarusian banks from the Swift banking system and add more Russian oligarchs and politicians to the EU blacklist.
Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs has said that 12,000 Russian personnel have been killed in its latest assessment of their losses to date. They said so far Russian forces had also lost 48 aircraft, 80 helicopters, 303 tanks, 1,036 armed vehicles, 120 artillery pieces and 27 anti-aircraft warfare systems. The head of the CIA told US lawmakers on Tuesday that it believed between 2,000-4,000 Russian soldiers had been killed.