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Harris slammed for laughing about Ukrainian refugees, dodges questions on fighter jet deal

Kamala Harris laughed off questions about the refugee crisis resulting from the Russian attack on Ukraine and dodged inquiries at a press conference in Warsaw Thursday on why a deal for sending fighter jets to Kyiv fell through.

Ukrainian-born Republican Representative Victoria Spartz slammed the vice president by saying ‘this is a very serious situation requiring action, not a laughing matter,’ as critics tore into Harris’ conduct at her press conference alongside Polish President Andrzej Duda. 

The vice president’s three-day trip to Eastern Europe comes as Poland has taken in upwards of 1.5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine in the 15 days since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded.

When asked about the issue of refugees, Harris looked at Polish President Andrzej Duda like she expected him to respond first, then cackled through her comment: ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’

The vice president’s now commonplace laughter at inappropriate moments with world leaders was met with widespread criticism.

‘Kamala Harris has been very consistent during her live remarks with Poland’s leader,’ former Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos tweeted Thursday. ‘She is awkwardly laughing. Again. Discussing refugees is no laughing matter. Why she laughs at this is deranged.’

Turning Point USA’s chief creative officer Benny Johnson posted: ‘Only Kamala Harris would find it appropriate to laugh when talking about the topic of Ukrainian Refugees.’

Harris has faced backlash previously for laughing during inappropriate moments. After the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, Harris cut off reporters asking questions by giggling and saying ‘Hold on, hold on — slow down, everybody.’

Duda confirmed that he had asked Harris to help speed up the consular process so Ukrainian refugees could go stay with family they have in the U.S.

He also said that a ‘refugee crisis is unfolding’ in Eastern Europe, and claimed that more than 1 million people arrived at his country’s borders from Ukraine in just 10 days of the so-far 15-day conflict.

The United Nations predicts that at least 2.2 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded and more than half of those refugees are now in Poland.

Harris pledged during her Thursday press conference more than $50 million more in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, while also dodging questions on a fallen through deal to send the country warplanes.

‘The issue facing the Ukrainian people and our allies in the Eastern flank is something that occupies one of our highest priorities,’ the vice president said, calling it a ‘dynamic situation’ that ‘requires us to be nimble and to be swift.’ 

Duda, however, did address the issue of warplanes, explaining that the situation is ‘extremely complicated’, and that the mix up came because Poland was making these aircraft available for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to decide if they wanted to send them to Ukraine.

‘We are trying to do our best,’ Duda said in a frank moment during his joint briefing with the vice president as Poland takes in millions of refugees fleeing their neighbor Ukraine.

‘Some expectations were addressed in a very strong and a vocal way, also towards us, towards Poland,’ he added. ‘However, we are members of the North Atlantic Treaty alliance and as far as security issues are concerned we have to look at this not only through our own lens – through the prism of the security of Poland – but we also have to adopt the perspective of the security of NATO as a whole.’

Russian tanks push to within just a few miles of Kyiv’s outskirts, analysts and witnesses claim, though initial assaults to the west and east of the capital were repelled Wednesday as President Vladimir Putin’s men face a long and bloody campaign to take the capital.

At the same time, U.S. troops conducted military drills in Rutja, Estonia on Thursday by firing Stinger missiles from their Stryker armored fighting vehicles. 

Vice President Kamala Harris laughed off inquiries about the Ukrainian refugee crisis and dodged questions on why the plan with Poland to send fighter jets to Ukraine fell through. Harris speaks during a joint press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw on Thursday

Harris and Duda met bilaterally before holding a joint press conference where Duda said the situation with send war planes to Ukraine is 'extremely complicated' and said he requested the U.S. speed up the consular process so Ukrainian refugees could go stay with family they have in the U.S.

Harris and Duda met bilaterally before holding a joint press conference where Duda said the situation with send war planes to Ukraine is ‘extremely complicated’ and said he requested the U.S. speed up the consular process so Ukrainian refugees could go stay with family they have in the U.S.

Tanks are seen destroyed near Brovary, Ukraine on Thursday as Russia enters it's 15th day of invasion of Ukraine and closes in on capital city of Kyiv

Tanks are seen destroyed near Brovary, Ukraine on Thursday as Russia enters it’s 15th day of invasion of Ukraine and closes in on capital city of Kyiv

More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Poland since the start of he conflict last month. Pictured: People wait to board buses after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at Medyka borders crossing on Thursday, March 10, 2022

More than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Poland since the start of he conflict last month. Pictured: People wait to board buses after crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland, at Medyka borders crossing on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Analysts believe the Russian assault on Kyiv is now underway, as troops massed in both the west and east try to push into the city limits - with missions also underway to surround the capital from the south west

Analysts believe the Russian assault on Kyiv is now underway, as troops massed in both the west and east try to push into the city limits – with missions also underway to surround the capital from the south west

U.S. troops prepare to fire Stinger missiles from their Stryker armored fighting vehicle during Saber Strike military drill in Rutja, Estonia on Thursday, March 10, 2022

U.S. troops prepare to fire Stinger missiles from their Stryker armored fighting vehicle during Saber Strike military drill in Rutja, Estonia on Thursday, March 10, 2022

Ukraine war: The latest 

Ukraine accuses Russia of a ‘war crime’ over a devastating attack on a children’s hospital

Some 1,207 civilians have been killed in the 10-day Russian siege on Mariupol, its mayor says

Red Cross calls situation in Mariupol ‘apocalyptic’ after more than a week without water, power or heat

35,000 civilians are evacuated from other Ukrainian cities during a 12-hour ceasefire

Fears are mounting Kyiv will also soon be encircled, with Russian tanks just a few miles away

Two women and a 13-year-old boy are killed overnight in bombing near Sumy overnight

Four people are killed in bombing on Kharkiv, with a five-year-old girl rushed to hospital wounded

US lawmakers pass a $14bn aid package for Ukraine with Canada pledging more military equipment

The International Monetary Fund approves $1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine

The United States deploys two new Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries in Poland

Fearing a wider conflict, the Pentagon rejects a Polish offer to give MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers are in Turkey to hold face-to-face talks

Britain calls on the G7 to ban Russian oil, but move is opposed by France, Germany, Italy and Japan

Nuclear watchdog says it is not receiving updates from either Chernobyl or Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plants, both of which are in Russian hands 

Washington rejects Russian claims it funded bioweapons research in Ukraine, and warns Russia could be about to use chemical or biological weapons itself

UN says at least 2.2 million people have fled Ukraine, with more than half now in Poland

Oil prices tumble while US and European and Asian stocks surge after days of market turmoil 

Harris left Wednesday for a three-day trip to Eastern Europe as the 15th day of Russian invasion continues in Ukraine and troops close in on the capital city of Kyiv. 

The vice president had a much more tame stance toward the violence than President Duda during Thursday’s joint remarks.

‘We are also very clear that any intentional attack on innocent civilians is a violation,’ the vice president said, stopping short of calling Russia’s actions ‘war crimes.’

But Duda sayid: ‘It is obvious to us that in Ukraine Russians are committing war crimes.’

While Duda explained that Poland is trying to act in the interest of their own country, Ukraine and NATO, Harris appeared on more shaky ground as she deflected and dodged.

‘I want to be very clear, the United States and Poland are united in what we have done and are prepared to do to help Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. Full stop,’ Harris said when she was asked about the lack of movement on a fighter jet deal.

‘In terms of the work the United States has done so far, we have, as you know, given military, humanitarian and security assistance, and that is an ongoing process,’ the vice president continued without addressing the defunct plan to send war planes to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the U.S. and Poland of playing games with people’s lives after the Pentagon poured cold water on a plan to get them fighter jets.

Zelensky told D.C. and Warsaw to stop their ‘ping pong’ and hand over the MIG-29 combat planes to bolster Ukrainian firepower against Russian troops as they continued their relentless shelling campaign in cities across the country.

‘There is an official decision of Poland to transfer the planes to the relevant base – the American base. We also have confirmation – we have all heard – that the agreement between the American party and Poland has been reached,’ Zelensky said in a speech Wednesday.

‘But at the same time, we hear that Poland’s proposal is allegedly unfounded,’ he continued. ‘And that’s what they say in Washington. We also read this. So when will the decision be made?’

‘Listen,’ the Ukrainian leader pleaded, ‘We have a war! We do not have time for all these signals. This is not ping pong! This is about human lives! We ask once again: solve it faster.’

‘Do not shift the responsibility. Send us planes,’ Zelensky demanded.

Despite the Pentagon denying a deal to enter a war plane deal with Poland, Harris announced Thursday that the U.S. did deliver on its promise to send patriot missiles to Warsaw to ramp up their protection against possible attacks from Russia.

She also pledged that the U.S. will send $50 million more in humanitarian aid to help Ukraine as it faces attack from Russia.

‘Today we are also announcing in pursuit of what must happen, which is to provide humanitarian assistance, that we will give another $50 million – the United States will – through the UN’s World Food Program to assist in humanitarian aid,’ she said.

A White House fact sheet on the new announcement Thursday claims: ‘This assistance builds on the United States’ announcement less than two weeks ago of nearly $54 million in humanitarian assistance to provide critically needed health supplies, food assistance, high thermal blankets, and other relief.’ 

Refugees from Ukraine stand near tents as they wait to be transported away from the border after crossing into Poland in Medyka on Wednesday, March 9

Refugees from Ukraine stand near tents as they wait to be transported away from the border after crossing into Poland in Medyka on Wednesday, March 9

When asked Thursday about the building refugee crisis in Poland, Harris laughed and handed the question off to Duda, saying through chuckles: 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'

When asked Thursday about the building refugee crisis in Poland, Harris laughed and handed the question off to Duda, saying through chuckles: ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’

Duda (left) and Harris (right) met in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, March 10, 2022 as the Russian attack on Ukraine entered its 15th day and forces closed in on Kyiv

Duda (left) and Harris (right) met in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, March 10, 2022 as the Russian attack on Ukraine entered its 15th day and forces closed in on Kyiv

Ukrainian armed forces collect captured ammunition on Thursday, March 10, 2022 as Russia continues its 15th day of invasion and closes in on Kyiv

Ukrainian armed forces collect captured ammunition on Thursday, March 10, 2022 as Russia continues its 15th day of invasion and closes in on Kyiv 

Thousands of U.S. troops were deployed to Eastern European countries to assist in defending NATO ally nations as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine. Pictured: U.S. troops during a military drill in Rutja, Estonia on Thursday

Thousands of U.S. troops were deployed to Eastern European countries to assist in defending NATO ally nations as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine. Pictured: U.S. troops during a military drill in Rutja, Estonia on Thursday

U.S. troops prepare to fire Stinger missiles from their Stryker armored fighting vehicle during Saber Strike military drill in Estonia on March 10, 2022

U.S. troops prepare to fire Stinger missiles from their Stryker armored fighting vehicle during Saber Strike military drill in Estonia on March 10, 2022

Vladimir Putin is going is on his 15th day of invasion in Ukraine. The Russia leader pictured above at a video meeting with government members in Moscow on Thursday

Vladimir Putin is going is on his 15th day of invasion in Ukraine. The Russia leader pictured above at a video meeting with government members in Moscow on Thursday

Although there has been no word on Ukrainian military casualties, Russia says it has destroyed more than 2,900 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities and has taken control of a number of neighborhoods in besieged southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Kyiv estimates that Russia has lost some 12,000 troops in the fighting, along with 335 tanks, 1,100 armored personnel carriers, 500 vehicles, 81 helicopters and 49 planes. Moscow has admitted suffering losses, but has not given an accurate figure.

‘The NATO alliance is stronger and Russia is weaker because of what Putin has done, that is very clear to us,’ Harris said in her remarks with Duda on Thursday.

Zelensky shared a video Wednesday of destruction at a maternity hospital as buildings were turned to rubble in Mariupol, Ukraine.

‘Direct strike of Russian troops at the maternity hospital. People, children are under the wreckage. Atrocity!’ Zelensky tweeted.

‘How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror?’ he questioned in a tweet. ‘Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity.’

The devastating airstrikes on the maternity hospital killed three including a six-year-old girl.

Residents and troops help civilians flee on Thursday from the town of Irpin in the Kyiv region of Ukraine as Russia tries to take the capital city after almost a week of fighting in the area forcing thousands of people to escape the town

Residents and troops help civilians flee on Thursday from the town of Irpin in the Kyiv region of Ukraine as Russia tries to take the capital city after almost a week of fighting in the area forcing thousands of people to escape the town

A Russian armored vehicle sits by the side of the road in Brovary, to the east of Kyiv, after being destroyed in an artillery and rocket ambush that caused heavy casualties

A Russian armored vehicle sits by the side of the road in Brovary, to the east of Kyiv, after being destroyed in an artillery and rocket ambush that caused heavy casualties

Ukraine has rejected most Russian evacuation routes because they lead to Russian soil or that of its ally, Belarus, while routes that Ukraine has proposed have come under bombardment. The only successful evacuation to take place so far has been from Sumy to Poltava (in green)

Vadym Denysenko, adviser to the interior ministry, said Ukrainian forces had managed to stop the attack in Irpin and were counter-attacking on Thursday morning with battles now underway.

‘The night was quite difficult, but in general we can say that the Ukrainian army counterattacked near Kyiv,’ he said. ‘There is no further detailed information yet.’

It means the Russian mission to assault the Ukrainian capital is now underway, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said.

Among the vehicles seen driving towards Kyiv before they were ambushed was a missile launcher which carries thermobaric warheads – missiles that suck oxygen out of the air and crush the lungs of victims.

Shelling in Kharkiv overnight killed four people, two of them children, with a five-year-old girl injured and rushed to hospital. Emergency workers said they are still working to pull people from the rubble of houses in the town of Slobozhanske. Three people were also killed in shelling on the city of Sumy – two women and a 13-year-old boy.

Mariupol continues to be surrounded by Russian forces but is still in Ukrainian hands, chiefs said. They said Ukrainian fighter jets and anti-aircraft missile units destroyed four Russian Su-25 attack jets and two Russian helicopters over the past 48 hours. 

Harris slammed for laughing about Ukrainian refugees, dodges questions on fighter jet deal Source link Harris slammed for laughing about Ukrainian refugees, dodges questions on fighter jet deal

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