The Ukraine “Between 120 and 140” heavy tanks will be received, Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba said this Tuesday (31), days after Western allies agreed to replace the vehicles.
They are mainly Leopard 2 tanks, manufactured by Germany and widely used by European countries, and other models. These vehicles are more powerful than any in Ukrainian hands and could revolutionize and end the Russian invasion.
“Ukrainian armed forces will receive 120 to 140 modern tanks of Western models,” the minister said in a video on Facebook, recalling that they are 2 units of German-designed Panther, 2 units of British-made Challenger and manufactured Abrams vehicles. United Nations.
Arrival of planes
Ukraine, which retains Western artillery and tanks, is now asking for fighter jets to counter Russian troops, a request the US rejects but not its European allies.
US President Joe Biden on Monday (30) categorically rejected the idea of sending US F-16 fighter jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin to Ukraine. The planes are capable of conducting long-range strikes, which could raise tensions with Moscow.
However, taking into account what has happened in recent months, the US president’s position may change.
The Allies were initially reluctant to send arms to the Ukrainians. But Washington eventually promised Kiev its Patriot air defense system and, more recently, heavy tanks, as did many European countries.
According to Olivier Schmidt, professor of political science at the Center for the Study of War in Denmark, the provision of fighter jets will not contribute to a possible escalation of the conflict.
“Delivering heavy tanks to Ukraine does not change the strategic dynamics of the conflict: it continues to provide the means to counter aggression from Russia,” the expert wrote in Le Grand Continent magazine.
Likewise, “the delivery of F-16 fighter jets will allow Kiev to carry out a more efficient air-to-ground campaign that will not create a symbolic gap that characterizes this type of air-to-ground, escalation. War is typical of modern military operations,” he added. .
Meanwhile, the debate over the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine continues. Like the U.S., Germany has ruled out offering flights for the time being.
Poland said on Tuesday there were “no formal negotiations” about transferring some of its F-16s to Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, assured that “nothing is ruled out” about this kind of transfer, but the Ukrainians have not yet made this request to Paris.
Instead, others say they are willing to offer the aircraft, such as Slovakia, which has the Soviet MiG-29, and the Netherlands, which has begun replacing its F-16s with F-35s.
An ‘all-round’ fighter
Like the German Panther heavy tank, “the F-16 is one of the most produced fighters in the world, so there are a lot of them and many European countries have them,” says Oliver Ford, a journalist specializing in military aeronautics.
“It’s a great fighter, very versatile. In theory, it covers all US and NATO air and air weapons. [Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte]”The re-export rules in the U.S. are very strict,” he says, though he cautions.
Western warplanes would allow Moscow to attack troops and discourage the Russians from bombing urban centers and power infrastructure, experts say. But they are not, by themselves, a panacea for conflict.
“Western fighters would certainly increase the survivability and air-to-air effectiveness of Ukrainian forces against the Russians. However, they would still be exposed to Russian anti-aircraft defenses, which would limit their ground attack options,” notes Justin Bronk. British research center expert on taste.
Finally, there is the issue of pilots, French retired general Jean-Paul Palomeros explained to AFP.
“It is necessary to find Ukrainian pilots to train. But how many of them are operational today?” asks the former senior official.
In one year, the Ukrainian army lost about 50 Soviet fighters.
“It takes at least three months to train an already qualified pilot in a modern fighter jet. An air force is not built overnight,” said the general.
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