29 November, 2022
F-16 fighter jet (Photo:ultramac/flickr.com)
NATO leaders are again considering the idea of providing Ukraine with MiG-29 and U.S. F-16 fighter jets, James Stavridis, a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in an article for the Bloomberg news agency on Nov. 29
According to Stavridis, the West must increase its support to Ukrainian air-defense efforts amid Russian mass missile attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.
He suggests that Ukraine may receive increased numbers of high-end air-to-surface missiles systems like the superb Iron Dome (developed jointly by the United States and Israel), NATO Patriot batteries (that are also going along the Polish border), and possibly tactical fighter jets.
“Leaders in NATO capitals are also revisiting an idea that was discarded in the early days of the war: providing either MiG-29 Soviet-era fighters (the Poles have offered to transfer them to the Ukrainians) or even U.S. surplus F-16s, a simple-to-learn multi-role fighter,” he wrote.
Stavridis stressed that the air war will continue to go in favor of Putin without such measures.
U.S. political news outlet Politico reported on Sept. 16 that Ukraine has stopped publicly asking for high-end U.S. weapons such as Patriot air defense systems, F-16 fighter jets and Gray Eagle drones. But behind the scenes, the push hasn’t stopped for weapons that could turn the tide of the war, Politico wrote.
According to The Spectator news magazine, the United States scuppered a deal for Poland to provide Ukraine with Soviet-made MiG-29 jets back in March due to a back-channel intervention by Beijing.