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Handout photo dated January 14, 2020 shows an MQ-9 Reaper flies over the Nevada Test and Training Range.

William Rio Rosado via Abaca Press via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Drone drama, DeSantis vs. Ukraine, Japan hearts South Korea, Pakistan-Khan standoff

Drone drama over the Black Sea

In what is so far the closest thing to a direct clash between the US and Russia over Ukraine, a Russian jet on Tuesday crashed into an American drone over the Black Sea, sending the unmanned craft hurtling into the water.

Moscow disputes the claim, saying its jets didn't hit the drone. The US accused the pilots of two Russian Su-27s of being “unprofessional” and “environmentally unsafe” for harassing and “dumping fuel” on the $32 million MQ-9 Reaper drone.

But scholars point out that the US didn’t call the act “unlawful.” Russia was evidently within its rights to disrupt a drone in international territory that was almost certainly gathering intel for Moscow’s adversaries in Kyiv. Still, the incident shows the dangers of US and Russian military hardware operating in such close proximity, even if they aren’t in direct conflict.

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Biden’s visit to Ukraine signals US commitment, but war gets tougher
Biden’s visit to Ukraine signals US commitment, but war gets tougher | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden’s visit to Ukraine signals US commitment, but war gets tougher

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and a happy Monday to you, a Happy President's Day.

I'm just back from Munich Security Conference, and of course today the big news, President Biden, with his surprise trip to Kyiv. And this is just before the first anniversary of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, last February 24th. Also, since the Russian annexation in Crimea in 2014, and their intervention in Southeast Ukraine, the first American president to visit Ukraine. That means including Obama, including Trump, including the first year of the Biden administration. This is a big deal symbolically for the US in showing continued commitment. It is a big deal for the Ukrainians in helping support their morale. It is a big deal for NATO, in helping to get them to believe that the Americans are undiminished in the prioritization of Ukraine, even after tens of billions of dollars, and a year of serious fighting.

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Zelensky tells Congress US aid is only path to war resolution
Zelensky Tells Congress US Aid Is Only Path to War Resolution | US Politics in :60 | GZERO Media

Zelensky tells Congress US aid is only path to war resolution

Clayton Allen, Director for the United States at Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on US politics.

How well President Zelensky did in his speech to a joint session of Congress earlier this evening?

Stylistically, Zelensky did well. He came to make an impassioned appeal and his speech fit that to a T. He contextualized Ukraine's struggle through comparison to major US battles like the Battle of the Bulge or Saratoga, something which clearly resonated with his audience. While he hit his mark tonight though, the impact of his speech on US policy might not be fully clear until the second half of next year. Congress is set to approve about $45 billion in additional aid for Ukraine in the coming days. Zelensky came to convince members, specifically the incoming Republican House majority that even more is needed.

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