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As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues, a key member of President Joe Biden’s administration is leaving. Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried has decided to leave her job so that she can spend more time with her family, Reuters reported.
“For the last 18 months, Dr. Karen Donfried has led the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with the utmost skill and commitment during a pivotal time. As she prepares to depart the Department at the end of the month, I thank Karen for her tremendous service to the Department and the American people,” Attorney General Antony Blinken said.
“Karen has deftly managed our relationships with many of our most important allies and partners at a time when Kremlin aggression threatened decades of peace and prosperity. Her policy acumen, integrity, and drive defined her leadership as Assistant Secretary and represent the highest values of public service. An exceptional leader, Karen has nurtured and empowered her team, positioning the Bureau and, in turn, the Department to pursue most effectively the interests and defend the values we share with our European allies,” he said.
“On behalf of the Department, I thank Karen for her distinguished service and wish her well in her next endeavors,” he said.
She has been among U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s key aides, traveling frequently to Europe to meet with U.S. partners as President Joe Biden sought to repair and re-energize transatlantic ties damaged by the unilateral approach of former president Donald Trump’s administration.
In one of her last high-level meetings at the State Department, she confronted Russia’s top diplomat in Washington, when he was summoned last Tuesday following the crash of a U.S. drone over the Black Sea after being intercepted by Russian jets.
The incident, the first known direct confrontation between Washington and Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine, has further damaged already tense ties between the two former Cold War foes.
It comes after a Russian fighter jet collided with a drone from the United States in the latest escalation of tensions between the two nations. The collision happened over the Black Sea on Tuesday a defense official said to Fox News.
“It was one of two Su-27’s flying. This happened in international airspace over international waters. The propeller to the drone was damaged and the drone landed in the Black Sea, west of Crimea, the U.S. defense official says. The Russian Su-27 was headed toward Crimea and landed there after this incident, the official says. It is unknown if there was any damage to the Su-27,” Fox News reported.
“A Russian fighter jet forced down a US Air Force drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday after damaging the propeller of the American MQ-9 Reaper drone, according to a US official familiar with the incident. The Reaper drone and two SU-27 Flanker jets were operating over international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone, according to the official. One of the jets then damaged the propeller of the Reaper, which is mounted on the rear of the drone, the official said. The damage to the propeller forced the US to bring down the Reaper in international waters in the Black Sea,” CNN reported.
“At approximately 7:03 AM (CET), one of the Russian Su-27 aircraft struck the propeller of the MQ-9, causing U.S. forces to have to bring the MQ-9 down in international waters. Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner. This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” US Air Force Gen. James B.Hecker, commander, U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa said.
BREAKING: A Russian Su-27 jet collided with a U.S. Reaper drone over the Black Sea in international airspace over international waters.
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) March 14, 2023
The Reaper drone and two SU-27 Flanker jets were operating over international waters over the Black Sea when one of the Russian jets intentionally flew in front of and dumped fuel in front of the unmanned drone, according to the official. https://t.co/siz8GFhg7j
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) March 14, 2023
It comes after Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was praised by many this week after his comments about the Ukraine-Russia war.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson sent a questionnaire out to DeSantis, former President Donald Trump, and all major prospective Republican presidential candidates last week. DeSantis responded by slamming President Joe Biden’s support of Ukraine and argued that it’s not “vital” to the United States to help the European nation fend off Russia’s invasion.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in a statement.
“The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict for ‘as long as it takes,’ without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges,” he argued.