Russia and Ukraine are stuck in the battle for Bakhmut: Live Update

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Western nations to supply a growing list of weapons to Kiev as it seeks to defend itself: small arms to anti-tank weapons, artillery, missiles and tanks.

Such expansions – particularly this month’s agreement to start supplying Ukraine with German and US-made tanks – have promised equipment that previously seemed off limits.

What about Ukrainian officials’ call for some of their most powerful weapons: military jets?

A top adviser to Mr. Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, on Monday suggested that Ukraine had begun pressing NATO countries on the issue of fighter jets, say on Telegram that Kyiv has received a “positive signal” from Poland about the F-16 fighter jet. Poland, an early supporter on sending German-made tanks to Ukraine, stressed that it coordinates arms decisions with other NATO members.

And Wopke Hoekstra, the foreign minister of another NATO member, the Netherlands, recently told Dutch lawmakers that the government would be ready to send US-made F-16 jets if the US transfer permission.

However, on Monday, President Biden, when asked by a reporter if the United States would provide F-16 fighter jets, said it would not. The White House declined to comment on a question of whether Mr. Biden had ruled out the use of the jets entirely or just delivered them immediately.

Other leaders have been more direct. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz repeat recently that Berlin will not send fighters to Ukraine. “The fact that we are not talking about fighters is something I made clear very early on and I make it clear here as well,” he said in a statement that Germany would send tanks to Ukraine.

On Monday, Britain’s Defense Secretary, Ben Wallace, acknowledged questions about the plane during a speech to members of Parliament.

“Since we entered the war for tanks to Ukraine, it is understandable that people are asking what the next possibility is,” he said. “What we know about all of these requests is that the initial answer was no, but the final answer was yes.”

Mr Wallace said Britain would monitor the progress of discussions among Western allies, but noted that decisions on military aid were not “a snap”.

Last week, the US position seemed flexible. Pentagon spokeswoman, Sabrina Singh, say then that she doesn’t believe the US has ever “drawn a line” on the number of weapons it is willing to provide and stressed that the US is providing Ukraine with a substantial air defense capability.

But if Western nations provide advanced aircraft, then training Ukrainian pilots will be a complicating factor, she said, requiring “more people to leave the battlefield to learn a whole new system.” “.

If fighter jets are sent in, Ukrainian pilots won’t be the only ones needing training. The logistics required to support a range of aircraft unfamiliar to Ukrainian mechanics, who are trained on Soviet-era equipment, would be time-consuming and labor-intensive.

And how such planes will be used remains an open question. The ubiquity of surface-to-air missiles on both sides ensured that air battles and bombings were rare compared to the fierce artillery battles that defined war.

U.S. supplies of the AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile, which began arriving in the summer, have allowed the Ukrainian Air Force – which consists mainly of Soviet-era jets and helicopters – to fire weapons. Their weapons were far enough from the front lines to not come into contact with Russian air defenses.

The delivery of the new jets “will reduce Ukraine’s disadvantage relative to the Russian Air Force and simplify the use of the jets,” said Michael Kofman, director of Russia studies at the Institute of Russian Studies. Western air-launched weapons, but this is a matter of lower priority.” CNA, a research institute in Arlington, Va.


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