(Washington) The United States said on Thursday that Ukraine did not really need fighter jets to counter Russian attacks, but considered providing it with more surface-to-air defense systems.
“Airplanes are not what our Ukrainian partners mainly need at the moment,” US Foreign Affairs spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
“When we analyze the destruction sown by the Kremlin on regions of Ukraine, it is essentially due to missiles”, “to rockets”, “to artillery fire”, he estimated. “Planes are not the best placed to eliminate these weapons. »
According to Ned Price, the Ukrainian army still has “several squadrons of planes” in a state of flight.
He added that the “effectiveness” of the Russian air fleet had been “limited by ground-based air defense systems”, whether “surface-to-air missiles” or man-portable systems – such as the Stingers supplied by Americans.
“We will continue to supply our Ukrainian partners with ground-to-air systems”, and “we may be able to supply even more”, he said.
The United States on Wednesday definitively rejected Poland’s offer to deliver its Mig-29 planes to the American army for subsequent handover to Ukraine, deeming Warsaw’s offer “risky” and likely to provoke a Russian escalation.
Washington has not completely ruled out that a NATO country could deliver fighter jets to Kyiv, but that would be its “sovereign decision”, the spokesperson stressed, implying that the United States does not would not be openly in favor of it.
He recalled that US intelligence had warned against the transfer of planes from Atlantic Alliance countries to Ukraine, as this could be considered “an escalation” by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the risk lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.