Zelenskyy asked for RAF Typhoons and USAF F-35s over Ukraine

In an appeal to Western allies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a formidable stance, akin to the one held in Israel and its surrounding region. Zelenskyy articulated his demand during an interview with Fox News, a prominent American media outlet. He believes Western countries should send their military aircraft to uphold Ukraine’s aerial sovereignty.  

Zelenskyy asked for RAF Typhoons and USAF F-35s over Ukraine
Photo credit: Getty Images

The Ukrainian President reasons that Western aviation needs to reinforce its operations in Ukraine, reflecting their level of commitment to Israel. In simple terms, Zelenskyy wishes that aircraft from organizations such as the US Air Force and other Western powerhouses showcase their might in bolstering the security of Ukraine’s airspace. “Real alliances are tested on the ground, and it’s time for Kyiv and its Western allies to express this,” insisted Zelenskyy.  

The US Air Force maintains a substantial presence in defending Israel’s airspace. The most common deployments include their maritime variant of the formidable F-35 fighters or the equally versatile F/A-18s. London, a firm ally of Washington, also maintains squadrons in the region. However, the Royal Air Force directs its operations primarily towards safeguarding commercial pathways in the Red Sea and conducting Eurofighter Typhoon assaults on Houthi targets. Thankfully, London is not alone in this endeavor—it receives substantial assistance from American jets.

Spanish and German Eurofighters in Estonia begin alert missions
Photo credit: Luftwaffe

“Unexpected” comments

Experts have responded to Zelensky’s recent remarks on Fox, offering their own viewpoints. Embedded in military strategy, their perspective suggests that “initiating airstrikes against the Houthis or Iranian proxies is one scenario, but risking a clash with a nuclear-armed force is a completely different ball game. Moreover, the Russian military possesses exceptional abilities to neutralize Western aircraft.” 

Political analysts also voiced their understanding about the prospect of deploying Western aircraft to secure Ukraine’s airspace against Russian intrusion. They eloquently articulated, “Zelensky is either posturing or he doesn’t grasp the distinctive significance the West assigns to Ukraine and Israel.” They further clarified, “For Western decision-makers, particularly those from America, Israel holds far greater strategic importance than Ukraine. The two can’t even be compared. Moreover, there’s no risk of encountering a formidable adversary like Russia in the Middle Eastern landscape.” 

Su-57's vertical stabilizers give it an advantage over the F-22 - F-35
Photo credit: USAF

It’s worth noting that Moscow has consistently asserted that any Western military equipment introduced into the Ukrainian conflict would be treated as legitimate targets for retaliation by the Russian military. This has been dubbed a “red line” by Moscow. Nevertheless, there have been several such “red line” breaches since the inception of the Ukraine conflict, yet without the anticipated retaliatory response from Russia.

Six reasons

The prominent role that Israel plays in the United States foreign policy is undeniable for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, Israel stands as a crucial strategic ally in the Middle East, a region with significant geopolitical and economic importance to the US. The US seeks to capitalize on Israel’s military strength and intelligent practices to mitigate regional threats, thus maintaining a balance. 

Israeli Hetz 3 or US Navy SM-3 caught Iranian exoatmospheric threat
Photo credit: MDA

Moreover, the democratic ideals that Israel embodies align with the governing principles in the US, fostering a natural alliance in a region where such political ideologies are less common. Another contributing factor is the historical and moral responsibility the US shoulders towards Israel’s security. This responsibility was born in the aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust when the United States played a significant role in the creation of Israel, providing a haven for Jews. 

The importance of maintaining Israel’s security also lies in the critical role it plays in endorsing regional stability. Without the guarantee of Israel’s security, the region could descend into chaos, which would affect global energy markets and threaten the safety of other US allies within the region. To strengthen this bond, the US consistently provides significant defense assistance to Israel. Lastly, Israel’s security also forms an integral part of the US’s broader agenda for nuclear non-proliferation.

The promised and available

Ukrainian digital altered F-16 emerges; Russia boosts missile output
Photo credit: Twitter

In light of the US Congress finally approving the much-anticipated military aid for Ukraine’s armed forces, Zelensky delivers his speech. Ukraine’s skies are soon expected to see the first F-16 flights. However, the arrival of these fighters depends on the completion of necessary training and qualification by local pilots, a process that is currently underway.

On the other hand, Ukraine’s air force primarily comprises Soviet/Russian aircraft with four types of combat aircraft in active service – the MiG-29, Su-24, Su-25, and Su-27. All of these aircraft are relics from the Soviet era. They are inadequate to counter the Russian air force, which boasts superior numbers of technologically advanced planes.

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