Brexit Britain forced to step in to help EU nation send jets to Ukraine as US backs down

Ukraine: Russian artillery appears to be struck in Izyum

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The UK Defence Secretary said the British Government will be ready to support Poland in its quest to send military jets to Ukraine after the US pulled out of a deal with the EU state. Mr Wallace said: “If Poland chose to do that, we would support them.”

He added that the UK would “stand by any country who makes that choice” and would “defend their right to do it”.

Mr Wallace clarified that the UK “would be willing to backfill – lend airpower to make good any shortfall”.

In March, Poland said it was ready to send its MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base as the US administration promised it would support the move.

But later Washington backtracked on its promise in fear it would escalate tensions with Moscow.

So far, NATO countries have been unwilling to send Ukraine their jets.

Mr Wallace said he and Boris Johnson would do everything to help Ukraine abut admitted airpower remains a topic of discussion for Western nations.

Since Russia was forced to abandon an assault on the capital Kyiv at the end of March, its main force has been trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the eastern Donbas region, using Izyum near Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv, in the northeast, as a base.

But Ukrainian troops have mostly held out against assaults, and in recent days recaptured four settlements north of Kharkiv, Tetiana Apatchenko, a press officer with the main Ukrainian force in the area, said on Tuesday, May 10.

Russian forces were trying to prevent Ukrainian troops from moving further towards the border in the Kharkiv region and trying to fully capture the town of Rubizhne, Ukraine’s general staff said early on Wednesday, May 11.

Across the border, the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region said on his Telegram channel that a “yellow”, second-highest, security alert would be maintained there until May 25. The area has come under sporadic attack from Ukrainian forces.

A Ukrainian counterattack near Kharkiv could signal a new phase of the conflict, making with supply lines into Russia potentially vulnerable.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian successes were gradually pushing Russian forces out of Kharkiv, which has been under bombardment since the war began.

“But I also want to urge all our people … not to spread excessive emotions. We should not create an atmosphere of excessive moral pressure, where victories are expected weekly and even daily,” he said in a video address.

Putin, meanwhile, appeared to be preparing for a long conflict, and a Russian victory in Donbas might not end the war, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Tuesday.

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In the retaken villages of Staryi Saltiv and Vilkhivka near Kharkiv, Ukrainian servicemen gathered the bodies of Russian soldiers killed in the fighting, according to Reuters witnesses.

Ukrainian border guards said on their Telegram channel that Russian forces were shelling the Sumy and Chernihiv regions close to the border.

In the country’s south, Ukrainian armed forces said they struck nine enemy targets, with enemy losses of 79 servicemen.

Russian fire was concentrated on the Mykolaiv region bordering the Black Sea where homes, farms and power lines were damaged.

Russian forces also continued to bombard the Azovstal steelworks in the southern port of Mariupol with, Ukraine’s general staff said, trying to capture the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the ruined city.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the reports of fighting.

Ukraine says tens of thousands of people have been killed there during two months of Russian siege.

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