The Kyiv authorities face several obstacles in the way of obtaining Western fighters. This publication reported Newsweek.
According to a publication dated February 9, experts say that first of all, the West will have to decide which aircraft to deliver. Thus, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to organize the training of Ukrainian pilots on “standard NATO aircraft”, without specifying a specific model.
The UK admits that it will take months to train Ukrainians. According to one of the experts, training can take place “at the desk”, and not in the air. In addition, the British pilot training program will probably not be able to cope with the influx of pilots from Ukraine.
The article notes that the UK’s pledge “is not a practical proposal, but a political one”, the purpose of which is to encourage other countries to follow suit and start discussing the transfer of military aircraft.
According to experts, F-35 stealth aircraft could be banned from the British side, as London cannot afford to lose them. The issue of providing planes involves the same considerations that previously kept Western countries from supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles: they could theoretically be used to strike Russian territory.
Earlier, on February 3, Rishi Sunak replied that the country could transfer fighter jets to Ukraine, but it would take a long time to train pilots for them. It was noted that London prefers to focus on deliveries to Kyiv, including longer-range missiles and drones.
Recently, a number of Western countries have been actively discussing the possibility of supplying modern fighters for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (APU). However, a number of politicians fear that such a move could lead to a serious escalation.
On February 2, The New York Times reported that the United States and the European Union could transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine via the Netherlands and Denmark. A source among US military officials said that the Netherlands owns 40 F-16s and intends to switch to F-35s, thanks to which they will be able to transfer fighters to Kyiv.
Prior to that, on February 1, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, commenting on the words of French President Emmanuel Macron about the possible supply of fighter jets to Kiev, made it clear that such actions would only increase the “irrepressible appetite of the Zelensky regime” and, of course, would become an escalation factor.
On January 31, former US Marine Corps officer Scott Ritter said that the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine would not solve the situation on the battlefield. He drew attention to the fact that in order to use Western aircraft, Ukrainian pilots would need months, if not years, of training and education.
Western countries provide military and financial support to Kyiv against the backdrop of a special operation of the Russian Federation to protect Donbass. Moscow has repeatedly condemned the supply of arms to Ukraine. Thus, it was noted that the supplied military equipment will not help the Armed Forces of Ukraine to conduct an offensive, and, in addition, will become a legitimate target for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
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