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NATO military chief: Ukraine not to receive fighter jets before counteroffensive already over

by Martin Fornusek July 4, 2023 9:52 AM 2 min read
Lieutenant Admiral Rob Baeur in Brussles, Belgium, Jan. 19, 2023. (Photo Credit: Omar Havana/Getty Images)
NATO Chair of the Military Committee Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer holds a closing press conference after a NATO Military Chiefs of Defence Meeting at NATO headquarters on Jan. 19, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo Credit: Omar Havana/Getty Images)
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Ukraine will not receive modern Western fighter jets before its ongoing counteroffensive is already over, said Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer, the Chairman of the Military Committee of NATO, on British radio station LBC on July 4.

“The discussion on the fighters is an important one, but it will not be solved in the short term for this counteroffensive,” the Dutch Navy officer said.

“Training those pilots, training the technicians, making sure there is a logistic organization that can actually sustain these aircraft will not be available before this counteroffensive.”

Bauer noted that even without fighter jets, Ukraine has an advantage over Russia in training, morale, motivation, and Western weaponry. According to the admiral, Ukraine can push through the Russian defenses but “it will take time.”

He added that upon taking new territory, Ukrainian forces will have to redeploy air defense systems to protect newly gained ground.

Several countries of the so-called “fighter jet coalition” have pledged to provide Kyiv with F-16 aircraft and the necessary training. These nations include the U.K., the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, France, and the U.S.

Both the Netherlands and Denmark showed a willingness to transfer F-16 fighters from their stocks.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has however complained to his Western partners that the schedule for training Ukrainian pilots is being delayed. According to Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the lack of advanced fighter jets is making the counteroffensive more difficult, comparing it to fighting with “bows and arrows.”

Zelensky concerned over delayed F-16 pilot training
President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed its weariness over pilot’s training courses’ on F-16 jet fighters, hinting at Western partners’ lack of will, he said in a joint conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on July 1.
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