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NATO admiral tells Ukraine when to expect fighter jets

Ukraine will not receive Western fighter jets for its current counter-offensive and will have to make do without them, the chairman of NATO’s military committee said, citing the lengthy training required for pilots and problems with logistics.

Speaking to Britain’s LBC radio station for an interview on Monday, Admiral Rob Bauer, who heads the military committee as NATO’s most senior military official, said that discussion about fighter jets for Kiev must wait until after its ongoing offensive operation.

  • “The discussion on the fighters is an important one, but it will not be solved in the short term for this counter-offensive,” he said.

“Training those pilots, training the technicians, making sure there is a logistic organization that can actually sustain these aircraft will not be available before this counter-offensive.”

Though Bauer claimed Ukraine was in “an existential fight,” he went on to argue that the country has “an advantage” over Moscow thanks to its Western weapons and training. Still, he insisted Kiev’s supporters “shouldn’t mix” discussion about the counter-offensive and Ukraine’s requests for fighter jets, suggesting such transfers are simply not possible at the moment.

  • While Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has repeatedly urged Western powers to hand over their war planes, only a small number of sponsors have agreed to do so, with Poland and Slovakia authorizing transfers of Soviet-era MiG fighters.

To date, Washington has denied demands for F-16s, citing availability issues as well as fears the weapons could escalate direct hostilities with Russia. However, US officials have backtracked after refusing to supply other weapons, including the Patriot missile defense system and the M1 Abrams main battle tank, and the Pentagon has already started training Ukrainian pilots on American planes.

Germany and the UK have also rejected calls for fighter jets, though Britain has authorized the transfer of Storm Shadow missiles to Kiev, the longest-range munitions provided to Ukraine so far. London has also stated it is willing to partner with a “coalition” of states to supply fighter jets, though Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the project is “not a straightforward thing,” pointing to training and logistics hurdles.

Ukraine launched its counter-offensive in early June, but the bulk of its attacks have been repelled with significant losses, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. President Zelensky has acknowledged the operations are moving “slower than desired” due to “tough resistance” from Russian forces, but military officials have maintained that large numbers of reserve troops have yet to be deployed.

Late last month, senior Zelensky aide Mikhail Podoliak accused Ukraine’s Western patrons of being too slow with their weapons deliveries, claiming that had allowed Moscow to set up formidable defenses.

Source: RT