Ukraine eyes fighter jets after tanks: ‘This is what we want’ | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine says it will now push for fourth-generation Western fighter jets, such as the US F-16, after securing dozens of high-performance main battle tanks from NATO allies.

Ukraine received a huge boost for its troops when the United States and Germany announced plans on Wednesday to supply heavy tanks for Kiev.

“The next big hurdle now will be the fighter jets,” said Yuriy Sak, who advises Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov.

“If we get them, the benefits on the battlefield will be huge… It’s not just F-16s, fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want.”

The Ukrainian Air Force has a fleet of obsolete Soviet-era fighter jets that came off the assembly line more than 31 years ago before Kyiv declared independence. The fighters are used for intercept missions and to attack Russian positions.

Western military support has been vital to Kiev and developed rapidly during the war. Before the Russian invasion, even the idea of ​​delivering lethal aid to Ukraine was highly controversial, but Western supplies have since broken taboo after taboo.

“They wouldn’t give us heavy artillery, so they did. They wouldn’t give us HIMARS systems, and then they did. They wouldn’t give us tanks, now they give us tanks. Apart from nuclear weapons, there is nothing we will not get,” Sak said.


No chance

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there is no chance of any fighter jets being sent to Ukraine.

“I made it clear very early on that we are not talking about fighter jets, and I am doing the same here,” he told the Bundestag.

Scholz added: “We will not send ground troops under any circumstances. I have said that there will be no direct involvement of NATO soldiers in the war in Ukraine. That has not been the case so far and it will not be the case in the future. And everyone can rely on that.”

Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia last February, has also said it wants to receive long-range missiles from the West.

Moscow reacted furiously on Wednesday after Germany approved the delivery to Ukraine of Leopard 2 tanks, the workhorse of armies across Europe, a decision that is sure to gird up Ukraine’s offensive power.

‘Preventing war from escalating’

Scholz said Western allies would continue to support Ukraine, but he also pointed to the danger that the conflict could flare up further.

“We must always make it clear in everything we do that we are doing what is necessary and possible to support Ukraine, but at the same time prevent the war from escalating into a war between Russia and NATO,” Scholz said.

Justin Bronk, a researcher at the RUSI think tank in London, said the Ukrainian air force would benefit greatly from NATO fighter jets in terms of air-to-air and potentially air-to-ground lethality.

But he said on Twitter that they would still be at great risk from Russian surface-to-air missiles, forcing them to fly very low near the front line, something that would “drastically reduce effective missile range and limit attack options.” to limit”.

A Ukrainian pilot code-named Juice told Reuters news agency last month that many of his colleagues were taking English lessons in their spare time, anticipating Kiev one day receiving foreign aircraft such as the F-16.


‘Attack helicopters also needed’

Last week, the allies pledged billions of dollars in military aid, including hundreds of armored fighting vehicles and troopships. Those are considered more effective for attacking enemy lines when used alongside tanks.

Ukraine sees the guns as a restoration of momentum in a war that has lately become a bloody, stalled slog.

Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko told Euronews that the next major weapon system the West needs is fighter jets.

“We also need attack helicopters and long-range missiles to reach logistical bases and Russian command centers. We should receive it now before Russia undertakes its major spring offensive,” Poroshenko said.

“The real game changer is now the fighter jet. We must immediately start training programs for Ukrainian pilots and prepare to supply them to Ukraine.”



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