Russia airstrikes target Sumy housing complexes, killing 21 people
Russian airstrikes targeted several housing complexes in Sumy killing at least 21 people, according to local authorities; Fox News correspondent Trey Yingst reports on the latest from Kyiv, Ukraine.
FIRST ON FOX: Former Ukrainian Member of Parliament Hanna Hopko led a group of more than 70 female politicians and activists Tuesday in asking President Biden for a no-fly zone over her country, as well as fighter jets and air defense systems to fight off Russia’s invasion.
Hopko’s letter to Biden comes after the two communicated during his time as vice president, and her time as the chairwoman of Ukraine’s parliament foreign affairs committee.
Fox News exclusively obtained a letter then-Vice President Biden penned to Hopko in August 2015, in which he promised Ukraine military and loan assistance, and to keep Russian sanctions in place until they ended the occupation of Crimea. Both promises were kept.
On Tuesday, Hopko sent her own letter, with support of dozens of female politicians and activists in Ukraine, expressing “the cry of all Ukrainian children” amid Russia’s assault.
“As you read this letter, Ukrainian children are dying under the deliberate Russian air strikes on civilian areas, hospitals and schools; becoming orphans; suffering from horrific injuries and psychological trauma that will scar them for life; being deprived of their homes, their childhoods, and access to healthcare and education,” Hopko and the group wrote. “Today, the mothers of these suffering innocent children represent the fighting spirit of my nation.”
Civilians continue to flee from Irpin due to ongoing Russian attacks in Irpin, Ukraine on March 8, 2022.
(Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
“These heartbroken mothers have the ironclad will to do whatever it takes to protect the future of their children in independent Ukraine,” she wrote, noting that her letter is “an appeal to the American nation.”
“I implore the American people to act!” Hopko wrote, calling on “every American to help us defend Ukraine’s future from an evil Russian attack.” “I appeal to your humanity, your love of freedom, and your will to lead the world in defending against a terrorist regime desecrating human life.”
“Now, I am urgently asking you to demonstrate leadership in standing up to Putin’s expansionist campaign,” she wrote, adding that “not since Adolf Hitler have we witnessed the actions of a regime that now poses an existential threat not only to Ukraine, but also Europe and the world.”
Gutted cars following a night air raid in the village of Bushiv, 40 kilometers west of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Biden and NATO have ruled out a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying enforcing it would put the U.S. and NATO in direct confrontation with Russia and would expand the conflict.
Hopko stressed that Ukraine’s fight “is the fight of everyone across the globe who stands for the values of democracy and liberty.”
WARNING: PHOTO BELOW MAY BE DISTURBING
Hopko, reflecting on meeting Biden in 2014, and having an “inspiring” conversation at Ukraine’s Saint Michael Cathedral, said those talks were “full of promise” that Ukraine will not be abandoned or sacrificed to Moscow’s imperialist and chauvinist geopolitical gambit.”
But Hopko criticized the “western strategy to respond to Russian aggression,” saying diplomacy and “limited sanctions” have “always been ten steps behind Russia’s aggressive agenda.”
Hopko notes that Ukraine, in 2020, called on the United States to implement “severe sanctions proportional to Moscow’s violations of international law and steadily increase them until Russia changes course.”
“Regretfully, nothing happened,” she wrote. “Instead, we saw new Western attempts to woo Putin into diplomacy talks and offer him rewards like Nord Stream 2.”
“Putin rightly interpreted the absence of Western resolve as weakness which emboldened him to continue escalating his aggression,” she wrote, adding that by mid-2021, Moscow “de facto annexed Russia occupied Donbas, and set the stage for a new territorial conquest.”
A boy named Vadik died in Sumy, Ukraine, on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, amid shelling during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, former Member of Parliament Hanna Hopko said.
(Hanna Hopko via Fox News)
Hopko noted that Putin, last year, “openly and boldly professed his fascist ideology of ‘russism,’ which dictates that Ukraine as a nation must be destroyed.”
“Mr. Biden, every minute your government and other Western governments are withholding a resolute action to halt Putin’s aggression, the ‘new Ukraine’ that we were building together with your help is being eviscerated through inhumane destruction of my country by Putin’s terrorist forces,” she wrote.
“Western self-paralysis with respect to engaging the Russian military is based on the defeatist logic that mad man always wins, and Putin fully exploits it. He threatens retaliation for any military support to Ukraine to make my nation an easy prey. And Putin can see his intimidation is working,” she added.
Hopko then posed the question to Biden: “What if Putin threatens nuclear war unless America withdraws from the Eastern European NATO members? Or, if he issues an ultimatum that NATO has to be disbanded to guarantee “Russian security”?
“I say that all Putin unlawful claims should be treated the same way as threats of a deranged terrorist,” she wrote. “One thing is clear, if Ukrainians followed the Western logic we should have surrendered nine years ago. But we didn’t and today we keep ‘provoking’ Putin by shooting down his planes and missiles. Because they are in our sky, while they have no right to.”
Hopko asked the United States and allies to “protect Ukrainian airspace.”
“Mr. Biden, let me ask you directly will it take Putin to start bombing Ukraine with tactical nuclear weapons for your government to impose a no-fly zone or help Ukraine obtain fighter jets?” She wrote. “Or, are you going to say that it is too late to save Ukraine then?”
She added: “Does morality end at the NATO border? Is the American war against terror selective about terrorists? Putin is certainly the number one murderer in the world today.”
Hopko, pleading as a mother, said Ukraine “desperately” needs “aerial cover, we need an air defense system, we need anti-ship missiles.”
“Momentum is on our side. Send us the weapons that can secure victory,” she wrote.
In an addendum, at the bottom of the letter, Hopko and the 71 co-signers, wrote that “all women politicians, women in Parliament, public activists in one voice ask the world to close the sky.”
“In 12 days 38 kids have been killed, 72 — were wounded. More than 2,000 civilians were killed. The occupiers do not give humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians,” they wrote. “These are the war crimes against humanity.”
Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at a damaged logistic center after shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
They added: “If you don’t close the sky — 3 more children will die every day! During 11 days of the war, Russian occupiers damaged or destroyed 34 hospitals, 202 schools, more than 1,500 residential buildings in Ukraine, including apartment buildings.”
Hopko’s letter echoes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s repeated calls for a no-fly zone.
Pleading with Western allies on Monday, Zelenskyy asked: “How many deaths and losses are still needed to secure the sky over Ukraine?”
Natali Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Ukraine is not a member of NATO and therefore not subject to the Article V provision of the NATO alliance that says when one member country is attacked all member countries will take action to assist.
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