The dispatch of military aircraft will only cause “more problems” for Ukraine, Russia said, while warning that, like weapons delivered to Ukrainian forces in the past, it will be a potential target of “destruction” for Russian troops.
The main spokesman for the Kremlin, Dimitri Peskov, has considered that announcements such as those made by the governments of Poland and Slovakia, which have confirmed deliveries of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters, show that the NATO countries continue to increase their “participation direct” in the Ukrainian conflict.
Likewise, he has questioned at the same time the relevance of these planes, since Peskov considers that they will not change the evolution of the fighting and that, in fact, Western countries only seek to get rid of “old and unnecessary equipment” by sending them to Ukraine, reports the Interfax news agency.
Poland and Slovakia have been the first two countries to grant the government of Volodimir Zelenski the fighters that it has been demanding for weeks, after having achieved what it called the ‘tank coalition’, which is the delivery of more than a hundred armored vehicles, the Leopard , in all its versions.
The United States ratified its position of not sending fighter planes, despite the fact that kyiv has insisted on delivering some F-16s.
Meanwhile, Slovakia confirmed that it will deliver 13 Soviet-engineered MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
“We will deliver 13 of our MiG-29s to Ukraine”said Prime Minister Eduard Heger, adding that his country will also supply Ukraine with the Kub air defense system.
Slovakia is the second NATO country, after Poland, to announce sending these fighters to Ukraine.
With the announcements made by Poland and Slovakia, Ukraine will receive a total of 17 Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighters in the coming days, with which it will be able to replace the planes it has lost since the start of the Russian offensive, but they will not be enough to change the relationship of forces on the ground.
The fighters are Soviet-designed planes, but Ukrainian pilots can use them immediately, without additional training.
An official from a European air force stressed that the decision was coherent and sought to rapidly fill the existing deficiencies and “guarantee the air defense of the territory, with devices that the Ukrainians already know.”
“It’s a ready-to-use solution [de inmediato]faster than sending Western planes,” he added.
The training time to be able to use modern combat aircraft is about six months for an experienced pilot. It can be reduced to three, but not less, since saving time comes with operational limitations.
“It is a fighter that has (…) a limited range of action,” explained Pierre Razoux, academic director of the Mediterranean Foundation for Strategic Studies (FMES).
“If you have heavy weapons, you would have to be stationed in central Ukraine to be able to attack Donbas, which is to say in quite a vulnerable environment,” added.
The numbers of the devices lost by kyiv vary and must be taken with caution. The Oryx website claims that Ukraine lost its 61 fighters, including its 18 MiG-29s. But some have been fixed. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) ensures for its part that some 20 MiG-29 are still in operation.
The Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, will still have to convince Westerners to agree to send more modern aircraft, such as the American F15, F16, F18, F35, the French Rafale or the European Eurofighter./AFP Summary