US Flies ‘Extraordinary’ Mission Over Ukraine In Big Show Against Russia

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

The U.S. military conducted an extraordinary flight over Ukraine in a major show of force against the Russian government amid tensions in the region, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses as he speaks during the plenary panel at the annual VTB Capital 'Russia Calling' Forum in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. The timing for a conference catering to foreign money is inauspicious, with investors jittery following the Russian navy firing on Ukrainian warships near Crimea last weekend.  Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, pauses as he speaks during the plenary panel at the annual VTB Capital ‘Russia Calling’ Forum in Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. The timing for a conference catering to foreign money is inauspicious, with investors jittery following the Russian navy firing on Ukrainian warships near Crimea last weekend.  Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Today the United States and Allies conducted an extraordinary flight under the Open Skies Treaty. The timing of this flight is intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations, DOD said. “Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch strait is a dangerous escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity.”

DOD declared “the United States seeks a better relationship with Russia, but this cannot happen while its unlawful and destabilizing actions continue in Ukraine and elsewhere.” (RELATED: Trump Cancels Putin Meeting)

US President Donald Trump (C) shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next to US First Lady Melania Trump (L) ahead a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. – The US and Russian leaders opened an historic summit in Helsinki, with Donald Trump promising an “extraordinary relationship” and Vladimir Putin saying it was high time to thrash out disputes around the world. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / Sputnik / AFP) 

The major U.S. flight over Ukraine comes after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 over the tensions in Ukraine. The tensions came after Russia opened fire on a Ukrainian vessel at sea in disputed waters recently, wounding three sailors. Russia subsequently seized three Ukrainian ships in the area and claimed that the vessels were in violation of its territory.

The president said he was “not happy” with Putin’s decision and later said in a formal statement:

Russia, Ukraine and the West have been engaged in a years-long conflict over the Crimean Peninsula. Russia claimed to annex the Ukrainian territory in 2014, drawing widespread criticism for violating flagrantly violating international norms. Significant western sanctions have been placed on Russia for the annexation.

Tags : department of defense donald trump russia ukraine
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