Above: Vinnytsia yesterday. Photo via New York Times
- Ukraine is in shock at the inhumane shelling of Vinnytsia yesterday, which world leaders were quick to call a war crime. The enemy launched submarine missiles from the Black Sea on the city of 370,000 in central Ukraine, hundreds of kilometers from any combat zone. Dozens are feared dead as first responders dig through mountains of rubble.
Above: The free, democratic world put Nazi war criminals – political and military leaders – on trial for their inhumanity. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
- Ukraine’s top war crimes prosecutor and judicial authorities from across Europe met in The Hague on Thursday at the Ukraine Accountability Conference to coordinate investigations into Russian atrocities and war crimes. Moments after the strike on Vinnytsia, over forty countries agreed on an approach to investigating war crimes including the complex tasks of evidence collection and sharing and building prosecutorial cases.
Above: The Ukrainian air force is outdated and small against a much stronger enemy air force. Photo via Military World
- Two Ukrainian pilots told officials from the US Congress and the Pentagon about the challenges they face flying outdated MiG-29s against the enemy’s more modern Russian jets. The pilots described their sorties as “suicide missions”.
- Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger introduced a provision to authorize $100 million to train Ukrainian pilots and ground crews to use American aircraft such as the F-16. The bill passed in the House’s 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
- So far, the Biden administration has resisted pleas from Ukraine to build Ukraine’s air force capacity using modern western combat planes. NATO considers the provision of aircraft to be a bridge too far, fearing provoking the Kremlin. Nonetheless, Ukraine sees it as a possible big step on the road to adopting NATO standards for its military forces.
Above: From left, Rip Rawlins and James Vasquz – two American combat vets helping Ukraine. Photo via James Vasques
- In a stirring testimony for the Helsinki Commission, US Army vet and Ukraine foreign defender Sergeant James Vasquez outlined why the West cannot hesitate to supply heavy weapons immediately.
- When he first arrived, Mr Vasquez said, ““I was fighting with guys who had a red T-shirt on and sneakers. We were going into battle with white Toyota Camrys with Javelin (missiles) in the back.” Mr Vasquez confirmed that Ukraine’s defenders are now battle-hardened warriors, but can’t fight off this enemy without real weapons.
- US Retired Marine Colonel Rip Rawlins, who advises the Ukrainian military, testified that Ukraine must get the big weapons now, “…they need more (weapons)…We are at a very tenuous and fragile point. This war could go in any direction, very unfortunately.” Mr Ripley also called for changes to export controls that prevent people abroad from sending body armor to Ukrainian defenders.