The editorial answers you | No fighter jets for Ukraine?

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Alexandre Sirois

Alexandre Sirois
The Press

Why do NATO countries agree to supply arms to Ukraine, but not military aircraft?

Pierre Fradette

This is an excellent question, especially since the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced at the end of February that combat aircraft would be made available to Ukraine to counter the invasion. Russian.

“The head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba said he needed planes that Ukrainians could fly. Some Member States have such planes and we will supply them with other armaments necessary for a war,” he said.

But as early as the second week of March, when Poland announced it was ready to ship Ukrainian military-flyable planes (Mig-29s) to a US base in Germany so they could fly to Ukraine, the Pentagon firmly rejected the offer.

As for Poland, it did not want the planes to take off from its territory to Ukraine, for fear of being the target of reprisals from Moscow.

This shyness, both on the part of the Americans and the Poles, is explained by the very nature of fighter planes, indicates Justin Massie, who teaches in the political science department at UQAM.

Unlike other weapons delivered to Ukraine by its Western allies, “a fighter jet has both defensive and offensive capability. And so far, the course of action of the Americans and the European Union has been to provide only defensive weapons to Ukraine, so as not to provoke an escalation of violence, ”he summarizes.

“Today, nobody crosses this limit because it is obvious that it characterizes a cobelligerence”, summed up Emmanuel Macron last week, when many leaders gathered in Brussels for a NATO summit and a G7. .

However, it is important to know that these fighter planes, requested by Ukraine to help it not lose control of the skies at the hands of Russian forces, do not represent the only solution to this crucial problem.

Even that “it is not clear that it is the most important weapon to help the Ukrainians defeat Russia”, specifies Justin Massie.

The Ukrainian army still has several planes that were not destroyed by Russian forces (according to a report by the New York Timesas of March 22, they would perform 5 to 10 sorties per day). In addition, “more sophisticated” air defense weapons than those currently used by Ukraine could be even more useful, explains the expert.

This is what Joe Biden recently decided to offer to the regime of President Volodymyr Zelensky. We are talking here more specifically about S-300 anti-aircraft systems.


S-300 defense system similar to those the United States wants to offer Ukraine

These are, according to Agence France-Presse, mobile anti-aircraft batteries which “are loaded on trucks” and “trigger automatically when a threat is spotted”.

That said, debates continue in the US Congress. Some are still campaigning, particularly within the Armed Forces Committee of the House of Representatives, for combat aircraft to be sent at all costs to President Zelensky’s regime.

The case is therefore complex, but the file is not entirely closed.

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