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Western intelligence indicates that Moscow is amassing fixed-wing and rotary aircraft near Russia’s border with Ukraine, two officials privy to the information told Financial Times.
As concern mounts surrounding the potential of a greater airborne attack, Ukraine’s Western allies have rallied to provide Ukraine with air defense and artillery ammunition.
“The Russian land forces are pretty depleted so it’s the best indication that they will turn this into an air fight,” one of the officials said. “If the Ukrainians are going to survive… they need to have as many air defense capabilities and as much ammunition… as possible.”
On Feb. 14, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Brussels that he has “nothing to report” regarding the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine.
He also noted that the U.S. does not anticipate an imminent “massive aerial attack.”
However, intelligence suggests that over 80% of Russia’s air force is “safe and available,” a senior NATO diplomat told the Financial Times.
“So we are expecting that they’re (Russian forces) preparing to launch an air campaign,” the official added.