Friday, January 27, 2023

Ukrainian pilots need MiG-29, F-16 jets, says ex-NATO boss

Former NATO official James Stavridis said, that Western countries should start supplying fighter jets to Ukraine for its defense against Russia.

In an interview with ZDF, Stavridis said that NATO must do everything to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Russian aggression.

“I consider that Ukraine needs combat aircraft,” Stavridis said.

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Stavridis also said that NATO countries should supply Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets or U.S.-made F-16s to Ukraine.

According to Stavridis, MiG-29s can be supplied now, and the Ukrainians know how to operate them. As for the second type of aircraft, this scheme will take longer, but Ukrainian pilots could quickly learn how to fly the F-16: “This is a relatively simple, easily mastered aircraft.”

The US admiral also called the supply of Western tanks to Ukraine “critical”. This type of armament of the Ukrainian troops is important for ground combat, regardless of which NATO country the tanks came from.

However, according to him, Russian invaders are more successful “in the sky” than on the ground. That is why Ukraine should continue to receive support in protecting its airspace.

Stavridis is a retired US Navy admiral who from 2009 to 2013 served as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, one of the most powerful roles after the secretary general.

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Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.

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