Meet the Ukrainian fighter jet pilots hobnobbing with Washington influencers.

By Jonathan Guyer, Vox

At a white-tablecloth dinner on the second floor of an Italian bistro in Dupont Circle, two Ukrainian fighter pilots took a break from the battlefield to describe facing off with Russian jets above Kyiv to a rapt group of reporters.

Pro-Ukrainian protesters gathered outside the White House to call for more action against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The four journalists chimed in with questions. Do the Ukrainians really want MIGs, the outdated Soviet-designed fighter jets? What was their message for an American audience more concerned with high oil prices than Russian threats, one that might even blame gas prices on US support for Ukraine?

“Um, this is a tricky one,” an American PR executive interjected, “but answer carefully.”

“You tell me if it’s off the record,” one of the pilots said, to laughs.

“It’s just that Russia is a really big threat,” he continued. “If it’s not stopped right now, right here in Ukraine, on the ground, and with the sanction pressure, the rest of this democratic world could find themselves in a much, much worse situation.”

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