Ukraine’s Defense Minister Pushes Western Fighter Jets: NPR
Kyiv – Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov says he is optimistic that Western allies will provide his country with advanced fighter jets, including US F-16 fighter jets, and that Ukraine’s forces are about to begin training for a newly developed advanced fighter jet. tanks “as soon as possible”.
“What’s impossible today is possible tomorrow,” he told NPR.
Speaking to NPR on Saturday, Reznikov said he hopes Ukrainian troops will begin training with Leopard 2 and Abrams tanks, which Germany and the US promised to donate to Israel last week. Ukraine. Britain is already training Ukrainians on Challenger tanks and sending 14 tanks to Ukraine.
“I understand that there are training courses in Europe,” says Reznikov. “It’s practical because we have to use a similar landscape and we have to have similar weather conditions.”
He told NPR he hopes for accelerated training, which he says is for the Patriot air defense missiles the United States promised President Volodymyr Zelensky in December. The US began training Ukrainians this month at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
“Typical training courses for a patriot consist of: [of] 10 months, he says, but Ukrainian troops will train with military personnel in the United States for “maybe 10 weeks.”
“For example, for Leopard tanks [training] usually half a year. But we hope to do it for a month or two,” he added.
According to Reznikov, Ukraine needs time to build fuel and spare parts supply lines, as well as train mechanics to service and repair the new tanks. But he said as these new tanks try to retake territory captured by Ukraine, the highly mobile artillery rocket systems (HIMAR) appear to have helped Ukrainian forces retake the southern city of Kherson in November. .
Ukraine wants fighter jets
Reznikov is also demanding fighter jets, particularly the F-16s, which have been in Ukraine’s inventory since the start of the Russian invasion.
“I’m sure that’s absolutely true,” he said of the F-16s, noting that Ukraine has secured other previously unavailable weapons, including HIMARS and Patriot air defense missiles.
President Biden appeared to suggest on Monday that the United States would not provide Ukraine with F-16s, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Tagesspiegel The newspaper wrote on Sunday that “the question of fighter jets does not arise at all.”
Reznikov said that in the past, most Western allies have turned down requests for weapons for practical reasons, such as the difficulty of finding spare parts. He said that when he asked his allies about the F-16, they noted “a very long preparation period. [Ukrainian] pilots”. He says he can offer a strong counter-argument by proving that Ukrainian forces can conduct short, highly intensive training with other weapons.
And Russia has accused the West of playing a direct role in the war by sending more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine. This has created tensions within NATO and the European Union. Croatian President Zoran Milanovic told reporters that arming Kiev would only prolong the war and that it was “unreasonable” to expect Russia to lose. And the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, said that the Western supporters of Ukraine “have gone to war”.
Corruption is a concern
Reznikov says he knows that Western allies are closely monitoring the Ukrainian government. Recently, Ukrainian journalists reported that Reznikov’s ministry sometimes buys food and other supplies for the troops at high prices.
Before the Russian invasion, most of the Ministry of Defense expenditure was public. Now most of them are classified for security reasons. He said transparency was a difficult issue in wartime, but he was working with parliament to change laws and make defense spending at least “semi-transparent”.
“It’s no cakewalk, but I’ll do it,” he said. “Because my position is zero tolerance for corruption. We must be a new Ukraine of European standards, not the old Soviet Ukraine with its legacy of corruption.”
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