War in Ukraine: for some kyiv allies, delivery of fighter planes “is no longer taboo”

Several American and European officials have assured, in recent days, that the door has not been closed to the sending of F-16 type aircraft. The Netherlands, in particular, have taken sides in favor of this hypothesis, which does not consensus.

by Elise Vincent

While the delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine has just been validated by Westerners, the hypothesis of the sending of fighter planes is already agitated by a certain number of Ukrainian officials , Americans and Europeans. In parallel, kyiv relaunched another of his recurring requests: the sending of long -range missiles. “The negotiations take place at an accelerated pace,” assured, on Saturday, January 27, the advisor to the Ukrainian president, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, during an interview with the Ukrainian television channel Freedom.

So far, the United States has always refused to provide both planes and long-distance soil-to-ground missiles, called Atacms, the range of which can reach 300 km. Red lines decreed due to the fear that kyiv would use this equipment to push the offensive to the Russian territory. But the Ukrainians continue to put pressure on their allies, considering that one of the only ways to weaken the army of Moscow is to manage to destroy its artillery stocks, of which a hundred would be located in occupied Crimea, according to Mr. Podoliak .

However, for the first time, on January 25, several senior American officials seemed ready to reopen the discussion on these subjects. The sending of fighter planes will be “very carefully discussed,” said Deputy National Security Advisor to the White House, Jon Finer, on the American channel MSNBC. The Lockheed Martin defense company will “increase the production of F-16 in Greenville [South Carolina] in order to be able to respond very satisfactorily to the needs of countries which would choose to make third-party transfers to contribute to the Current conflict, “Frank St John, operating director of the American company, at the Financial Times, on the same day.

The F-16s are today the planes most sought after by kyiv. These so -called “fourth generation” devices have the advantage of being versatile while being relatively cheap. “It is a small plane constantly modernized since its commissioning and which can accomplish all the missions at a lower cost, a bit like the Mirage 2000”, explains Jean-Christophe Noël, former fighter pilot, now a researcher Associated with the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) and editor-in-chief of the Vortex Reflection Review, published by the Air Force.

Like the Leopard Char, which Berlin has exported to many European countries, the F-16 is one of the best-selling American fighter planes in recent years. There is thus in Europe an “F-16 club” of nine countries with this type of devices, as there is a “Leopard club” from 14 countries for the Rheinmetall tank. kyiv’s interest in these planes as well as for tanks, is identical: target an equipment available in number in order to really change the situation. But the difficulty is also the same: convince the manufacturing country – this time, the United States – to give permission to re -export this type of armament.

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/Media reports cited above.