This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (March 17)

Poland is set to send four MiG-29 Fulcrums to Ukraine. Image – U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Poland has announced that it will be the first of the NATO allies to send fighters to support Ukraine.  Polish President Andrzej Duda said four MiG-29s will transferred shortly.

In a recent interview,  officials in Switzerland emphasized the importance of the country’s  neutrality in regard to weapons.  While the country did follow the European Union on Russian sanctions, it remains steadfast in not supplying military systems to the conflict.

Ukraine is reportedly suffering from a shortage of experienced troops and ammunition on the front lines, raising concerns about mounting a spring offensive. However, a number of troops are away from the front undergoing training, so the dynamic could shift when they return to the fight.

Ukraine aid was mostly excluded from the White House’s FY24 budget request. While the new spending plan does seek $300 million for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the bulk of military aid for Kyiv will be sought using supplemental requests later in the year.

It appears Russian forces are burning through their inventory of T-72 tanks faster than originally thought. This shortage likely explains why it has begun using older tanks like the T-62 and T-80B.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is planning to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time since Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine shot down a Mugin-5 drone, a Chinese commercial unmanned aerial vehicle that was weaponized for use in the war. Reports indicate the drone was crudely modified, making its effectiveness in the conflict limited.

A Russian Su-27 fighter collided with a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper over the Black Sea, causing the drone to crash. The U.S. says the Su-27 was harassing the drone before the collision. Moscow has claimed the drone’s presence over the Black Sea is proof the U.S. is directly involved in the Ukraine war, ratcheting up tensions with Moscow.

Russia is attempting to retrieve the wreckage of this UAV from the Black Sea.  U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made this statement after a phone call with his Russian counterpart.

Russia has repeatedly launched missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian cities and other targets.  As part of the attack on March 9, Russia attempted to locate Ukraine’s recently arrived Patriot air defense system.


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