Ukraine should receive MiG-29 and F-16 fighters after spring

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WASHINGTON — The coming winter will reduce hostilities in Ukraine. Both sides will reorganize. Damaged weapon systems and equipment will be repaired. In early spring, the frozen ground will allow the use of heavy land equipment. If on the ground Ukraine is doing well, in the air Russia has an advantage.

Photo credit: MoD Ukraine

This brief analysis comes from retired Admiral, and former Commander of NATO Forces in Europe, Mr. James Stavridis. He stressed that the US and NATO should accept the idea that existed at the beginning of hostilities: providing MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, as well as the delivery of surplus F-16 fighter jets from the US.

Poland was the first country willing to send its MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine. Initially, the idea was accepted by Washington, but at some point, the Americans backed away from this proposal and did not accept the Polish idea. There is a theory that Chinese political actions are behind the US refusal.

Stavridis sees Ukraine as strong on the ground. Allied supplies continue. If at the beginning of the war the problem was the shortage of ammunition, now this problem does not exist. The fact, writes the admiral, that the motivation in the Russian army is not what the Kremlin expected is not to be ignored either. It is low, and during the mobilization, we saw many Russians leave their homeland because they do not want to fight. Stavridis gives a recipe for land defense. He says military tactics show Russia must be outnumbered 3-to-1 to break through Ukrainian ground defenses.

But what is happening in the air over Ukraine is radically different. Stavridis appreciates not so much the inventory of the Russian Air and Space Forces [VKS] as their combat experience in Syria. The fact that the new Russian general appointed to oversee the war in Ukraine is a commander of the Russian Air Force should not be overlooked. Stavridis stressed that he [the new Russian commander] and his commands in Syria were responsible for the “atrocities there”. I.e. it is fully expected and according to the mentality and understanding of war that Russia is currently attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructures. The former commander of NATO forces in Europe says that the Kremlin is taking these actions “to break the morale of society”.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In recent decades, Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin has been collecting dump bombs, the admiral also said. When the precision missiles run out, the Kremlin will still have vast quantities of dumb bombs, and they will be used. Stavridis thinks the scenario suggests their use, which is a signal to the West to take better care of Ukraine’s air defenses. It refers to more and more modern air defense systems.

The probability that the skies above Ukraine will close, declaring it a “no-fly zone,” is very small, Stavridis said. But, if today the West is ready to supply air defense systems [NASAMS, IRIS-T, etc.], it is time to think about supplying fighters as well. “Without such actions, the war will be in Putin’s favor,” says the admiral. He reiterated that Ukraine’s allies must accept the fact that defense needs MiG-29s as well as F-16s. There is someone to deliver the MiG-29, and there is someone to deliver the F-16, and this will in no way disturb the air balance and defense capabilities of the supplier countries.

“With a land war in favor of Ukraine and a brutal air war in favor of Russia, the best option for the West will be a significant increase in air war aid to Ukraine,” the US admiral concluded. He emphasized that, according to him, such negotiations could begin in the spring.

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