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Ukraine really wants this deadly drone – and the US is working on it



As Russian forces retreated in southern Ukraine, the Biden administration announced a slew of new military support packages for Ukraine, but they all lacked equipment the Ukrainian military has long wanted: a multipurpose Gray Eagle drone armed with Hellfire missiles.

The US is studying modifications that could be made to the deadly drone, two officials said. Modifications that would greatly reduce the likelihood of losing the drone — with its sensitive technology — and possibly increase the likelihood that Ukraine will get them.

“There are specific and very technical small adjustments and tweaks that could make this possible in the short term,” a congressional official said. “But these things take time and are quite complex.”

A US spokesman confirmed that the Army is making efforts to study what modifications can be made to the drone, which is manufactured by General Atomics and referred to by the military as the MQ-1C.

“When it comes to drones, it’s better than ever,” says Seth Jones, director of the international security program at the Center for International Strategic Studies. “These are really sophisticated drones.”

However, without any changes, the Gray Eagle, which can carry four Hellfire missiles and fly at an altitude of 25,000 feet for almost 30 hours, is unlikely to be on the next list of military aid to Ukraine.

“There remains real interest in providing this particular system as long as we can make the necessary changes and in a way that will continue to be useful to Ukraine on the battlefield,” the US official said.

Discussions about the Gray Eagle are ongoing, and Ukraine is not being excluded or officially denied, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Pentagon rejected Ukraine’s request.

Ukraine “presses”

“We are pushing, we are not giving up,” the Ukrainian representative said. “It’s a matter of survival [para a Ucrânia]”.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Roger Cabinines declined to comment specifically on Gray Eagle, saying only that the Department of Defense continues to coordinate with Ukraine on security assistance.

The White House declined to comment and General Atomics did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to the lethality of the missiles it carries, the Gray Eagle will give Ukrainian forces more ability to gather intelligence, conduct reconnaissance from a greater distance, expand support for artillery targets on the ground, and counter Russian drones.

Throughout the war, the US was slow and reluctant to provide Ukraine with more advanced and longer-range weapons, such as missiles, that would allow Ukraine to attack Russian territory and, as such, could potentially be viewed by Moscow as a significant escalation of the conflict. conflict.

In the case of the Gray Eagle, the US spokesman said the concern was not so much the escalation of the conflict as technological security, namely the possibility that expensive drones could crash in Ukraine and be recovered by the Russians.

“These are very expensive systems and there are fears that they could be shot down,” the same spokesman said, declining to say which parts of the drone would be more dangerous if they fell into Russian hands.

This is a scenario in which the US has experience. After Iranian drones were shot down in Ukraine, the US was able to study the wreckage, according to The Washington Post.

The US representative declined to elaborate on Gray Eagle’s more sensitive technologies, but said it would not be considered an escalation as similar capabilities are provided.

The technology in question is likely to focus on imaging and intelligence-gathering capabilities and sensors, according to Jones of the Center for International Strategic Studies, suggesting that US fears have more to do with the escalating conflict with Russia.

“This allows you to fly much farther from the front line,” he said. “I don’t think they would risk using them up close and they wouldn’t need to use them up close as they can fire from a distance and collect data from a distance.”

US modified weapons systems before

This is not the first time that changes have been made to the American delivery systems to Ukraine. In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that classified components had been removed from Stinger anti-aircraft missiles by loosening only a few bolts. This was enough for the US to send them.

As with the Gray Eagle, the US has also turned down requests for ATAMCS long-range missiles with a range of about 300 kilometers. Ukraine is so eager to get them that it has offered the US a remarkable level of transparency by sharing its goals, sources told CNN.

“We need ATACMS,” repeated the Ukrainian representative when asked what else besides the Gray Eagle was at the top of the wish list.

The $400 million package for Ukraine, announced in early November, included a new commitment to supply more than 1,000 Phoenix Ghost drones. Unlike the Gray Eagles, these are smaller disposable suicide drones.

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine in late March, the Biden administration has backed Ukraine with increasingly sophisticated weapons. To promote, trying not to cross the line, which, in their opinion, Russia would consider excessive.

Last week, President Joe Biden confirmed his team’s concerns, telling reporters at a press conference, “I don’t intend to [a Ucrânia] start bombing Russian territory.”

Biden highlighted the fact that while the US has provided Ukraine with high-performance HIMARS mobile missile systems, it has not provided the long-range munitions that accompany those systems, including ATACMS.

No NATO country has sent fighter jets to Ukraine, perhaps the most debated issue of what weapons should be provided to Ukraine.

The planes are still under consideration, according to three people familiar with the matter. Whether you mean US military aircraft or Soviet-made fighter jets like the MiG-29 is a key part of the conversation. The US could ask a country like Poland to provide Ukraine with MiG-29s and Poland with American fighter jets.

Sending U.S. warplanes directly to Ukraine doesn’t make much sense, a congressional official said, because there is little air combat, Ukrainian pilots aren’t trained to operate the planes, and the planes require serious maintenance.

Then there is the question of how this will affect the calculations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, given the fear that he might use nuclear weapons.

Are we adding measures that Putin can tolerate to a bucket that could overflow at any moment? asked another person familiar with the discussions. “What level is this bucket now? And how much do we propose to add? These are things that US intelligence and defense officials are always trying to understand.”

Ukrainian authorities are becoming increasingly frustrated with general escalation fears, pointing out that they may have used HIMARS — the most advanced U.S. system in Ukraine to date — to infiltrate Russian territory, but have not done so.

“Honestly, this is all nonsense. What is the ascent? the Ukrainian representative asked. “That they dropped a nuclear bomb? Or what are we afraid of? I do not understand.”

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Zelensky considers the ceiling set by the EU for Russian oil insufficient



President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky this Saturday considered limiting the price of a barrel of Russian oil to $60 insufficient, as he does not consider it a “serious decision”, and Kyiv offered a price two times lower.

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Spain: it is already known where the trap envelopes were sent



The Spanish police claim that six trap parcels that arrived at diplomatic missions and ministries were sent from the city of Valladolid.

Despite the established origin, the authorities still don’t know who’s to blamesince the letters will be placed in regular mailboxes.

The first evidence of the investigation is related to only one of the six packages was able to be deactivated without damage🇧🇷 These are homemade devices with powder charges. The police managed to carry out controlled explosions in four devices.

In the period from November 24 to December 2, parcels with pyrotechnic materials arrived at the diplomatic missions of Ukraine and the United States, the Ministry of Defense and in the office of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Meanwhile, the security of public buildings, government and embassies strengthens🇧🇷 Despite the written bombs sent out, the authorities decided that it was not worth raising the level of terrorist threat.

On Friday, Spain’s interior minister recommended to the European Commission and partner countries take action if they received such trap letters with the recognition of their possible attitude towards the war in Ukraine.

The advice was accepted by Portuguese diplomacy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent Portuguese embassies to increase caution when receiving mail.

The MNE of Portugal acknowledged that a circular with recommendations was sent to the Portuguese missions and embassies, but chose not to give further details about the proceduresciting security concerns.

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Qatar treats Santos Silva better than Marcelo



Joao Sena

In Doha, Augusto Santos Silva guaranteed that there would be no problems between Portugal and Qatar. “The two countries have tense diplomatic relations. Qatar is one of the Gulf states where we have a permanent ambassador and it is a strategic region for us,” said the second representative of the Portuguese state. And he also mentioned that there are several points that “should not be forgotten” in order to maintain good bilateral relations. Referring to his experience as Minister of Foreign Affairs, he recalled two facts: “First, it is that, unfortunately, the former Portuguese Ambassador to Qatar, Ricardo Prachana, died in office and the support provided by the Qatari authorities was unsurpassed. (…) Second fact [foi] when we had to remove dozens of people from Afghanistan, namely Afghans who collaborated with the Portuguese armed forces, in a very difficult operation. We did this because we had Pakistan’s support on the ground route and Qatar’s support on the air route.” Santos Silva’s agreement with the Qatari authorities goes even further when he praises “the very clear position that Qatar has taken in the United Nations General Assembly condemning the war against Ukraine and the importance of the geopolitical and geo-economic perspective that this region has in the world today.”

moderate speech pleases

Santos Silva’s statements clearly show more cordiality compared to the speeches of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and António Costa (the so-called “hostile”), as well as the subsequent human rights narrative that has rattled the Qatari government to, as reported by Nascer do SOL in its latest issue, admitting that he blacklisted the country as soon as the World Cup is over, the same is happening with Germany, Denmark and France, which have followed the same type of discourse.

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Diplomatic efforts by Santos Silva appear to have helped mitigate the damage caused by the statements of Marcelo Rebelo de Souza, who at the Doha conference refocused on human rights violations, knowing that previous statements were considered “hostile”. ‘ by the Government of Qatar. The diplomatic corps immediately took action at the Palacio das Necessidades and in Doha to prevent the situation from escalating. A Portuguese delegation was sent to Qatar to ensure that Santos Silva’s trip would not bring more problems to Portugal and that the diplomatic calculation would have no repercussions.

In addition to his presence at the stadium to watch Portugal play, the President of the Assembly of the Republic met with the Qatari authorities, where “all matters of interest to both Portugal and Qatar” were considered. Homework was done well and Santos Silva was awarded state awards. He was met at the airport by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and stayed at a hotel reserved exclusively for heads of state (instead of the Banyan Tree Hotel reserved for vice presidents and chairmen of parliaments). an attitude very different from that given to the President of the Republic during his visit to Qatar, as he was received by the daughter of the Sheikh of the Emirate, who was at the stadium in her private box without receiving the Portuguese head. The Qataris seem to know how to forgive but not forget.

Western hypocrisy

On the subject of human rights in Qatar, Angelo Correia, a former interior minister (de Cavaco Silva), believes this is “hypocrisy and a Western superiority complex.” Speaking to Nascer do SOL, the analyst and political commentator added that the West is “punishing itself for its past mistakes regarding the barbaric colonization of some countries in this region, while at the same time assuming the supremacy of the present as if nothing had happened in the past. In Europe there is a contradiction between sinning excess in this matter and showing superiority over those who are not yet on their way. This is an ambiguous, pompous and contradictory attitude.” But the political class is also responsible: “Portugal’s position towards Qatar left much to be desired in some circumstances, and some people and some parties showed a certain opportunism. There are currently two problems that elude the Portuguese democratic reality: the lack of memory and then the strong agitation for political correctness.”

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Relations between Portugal and Qatar have entered a less tense phase and the presence of Ana Catarina Méndez, Deputy Minister for Parliamentary Affairs who replaced the Prime Minister, who canceled her trip for health reasons, in yesterday’s game in which Portugal lost to South Korea (1-2) an example of this. “This is the day we should all unite with the colors of Portugal, the colors of an open, modern and inclusive society that I am proud to represent,” he told Lusa.

António Costa is expected to go to the Round of 16 game on Tuesday and if the national team continues to compete, with Santos Silva reaching the quarter-finals and Marcelo Rebelo de Souza reaching the semi-finals, then… But one thing is for sure: an agreement is needed. official discourse so that the country is not blacklisted by the emirate.

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