Kamala Harris blindsided by plane proposal ahead of high stakes trip to Eastern Europe

Ukraine: Liz Truss on the importance of intelligence

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The Vice President and other American officials are said to be “surprised” at the offer, having said they will not be drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

Although this trip was originally intended to help deal with the refugee crisis, a White House official told CNN that ideas about how best to help Ukraine in the fight against Russia will “absolutely” be discussed.

The Poles proposed a plan on Tuesday for Ukraine to use MiG-29 fighter jets against the Russians by moving their fleet to the American airbase at Ramstein in Germany.

This move “blindsided US officials”, according to Vanity Fair, as there are fears that this could heighten tensions between Russia and NATO and its allies.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has pushed for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Ukraine, but NATO has refused on the grounds it could lead to a full-blown war.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement: “We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents.

“But we do not believe Poland’s proposal is a tenable one.”

However, a White House official told CNN: “We have been in dialogue with the Poles for some time about how best to provide a variety of security assistance to Ukraine.

“And that’s a dialogue that absolutely will continue up to and as part of the Vice President’s trip.”

It is thought Ms Harris will also seek to ease fears amongst Eastern European nations that they are next in Putin’s firing line.

Former Defence Department official Richard Weitz told the Washington Post: “It’s clearly an important mission.

“These countries took unprecedented risks in coming to Ukraine’s defence, clearly to the annoyance of the Russian leadership, and so they’re probably looking for reassurance.”

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been visiting the Baltic states, and assured them of their protection from Russia as NATO members.

Speaking in Riga, he said Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had “formed a democratic wall that now stands against the tide of autocracy”.

He continued: “The United States is more committed than ever to standing with you as our democracies rise to the challenge.

“We are bolstering our shared defence so that we and our allies are prepared.”

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