Fighter jets: yes or no? Western countries face a crucial question. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling for aircraft, such as MiG-29 jets, to repel the Russian invaders.
A few days ago, the hesitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (64) occupied the world when it came to the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After Scholz’ yes to the delivery, the next demand is already in the room: it’s about fighter planes.
When asked about this at a press conference, Scholz did not directly answer a journalist’s question. And still makes his point of view clear: “It is idiosyncratic that this debate is being held.”
A strategic question
According to military experts, the question of whether Germany or the West in general should equip Ukraine with fighter jets is a strategic one, as the “Spiegel” reports. Is Ukraine intent on recapturing territories that Russia has occupied since the war began? And what about Donbass or Crimea, which was annexed back in 2014? These questions have not yet been finally clarified – and the West currently prefers to avoid them.
The Central and Eastern European NATO partners are considering selling MiG-29 jets, which are primarily geared towards aerial combat against other jets. Their purpose is less to drop bombs or missiles to eliminate enemy positions.
However, Russian jets are hardly ever penetrating Ukrainian airspace because they fear being shot down by the defense. They usually remain in Russian or Belarusian airspace to launch the missiles.
Consequently, the direct military effect of the MiG-29 would be manageable. According to the military, however, the symbolism of leased airmen should boost the morale of the Ukrainian army.
This jet is different
It would be different if Ukraine were to get F-16 fighter jets: the US-made planes could not only bomb targets in occupied territories, but also points across the border from which the Russians fired rockets. From a military point of view, this would be very effective.
Such attacks would probably result in a further escalation of the war, against which Scholz constantly warns. In addition, Western personnel would probably have to be sent to maintain the planes. In addition, Ukrainian airfields would have to be protected from attacks with Patriot anti-aircraft missiles, for example.
Most recently, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (45) reiterated his call for fighter jets. The Netherlands and Poland do not rule out supporting Ukraine in the defensive struggle. The USA under Joe Biden (80) have already spoken out against it. (twa)