Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Has Urged The West To Send More Fighter Jets To The Country

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, reiterated his plea for the United States and Western allies to provide fighter jets to Ukraine to help boost the country’s defenses against Russia’s unrelenting attacks, calling the planes the “highest demand” and “most serious issue.” “If we lose control over the sky, we cannot prevent two things from happening: We cannot stop Russian bombers destroy[ing] our cities and killing civilians. And we cannot destroy Russian columns heading towards our big cities on the roads,” Kuleba said in an interview with “Face the Nation,” when asked what types of military equipment Ukraine needs from allies and partners. “To achieve these two purposes, we need more planes. This is the most pressing issue.”

Since January 2021, the US has supplied Ukraine with more than $1.2 billion in security assistance, and President Biden approved an extra $200 million in small guns and equipment for Ukraine on Saturday. In addition to the latest round of military support, Congress gave Mr. Biden a $1.5 trillion government spending measure on Thursday for his signature, which includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine. However, Kuleba stated that Ukraine requires planes “to save [our] people’s lives” and to counter Russia’s air power. “Frankly speaking, we don’t understand all the explanations that we are given why we should not be given those planes, and we will continue putting pressure … from all corners and requesting this assistance from the United States and other partners,” he said.

The US has been working on an agreement with Poland to transfer Russian-made fighter planes to Ukraine, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on “Face the Nation” a week ago that Poland had “had the green light” to send planes to Ukraine. However, the Pentagon stated on Tuesday that Poland’s proposal to hand over its airplanes to the US, which would subsequently be passed on to Ukraine, is not “tenable” and “raises severe concerns for the whole NATO alliance.” The back-and-forth over plans to deliver Ukraine combat jets, according to Kuleba, is a “diplomatic enigma.” “On the one hand, everyone is ready to do it, but nothing is happening and we are not getting the planes,” he said. “It reminds me of other ping-pong games where every side throws the ball to the other side and gets it back. We have no time for this kind of ping-pong diplomacy.”

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The rationale underpinning the US argument that giving back jets would exacerbate already-increasing tensions with Russia is “flawed,” according to Ukraine’s foreign minister.”The drones are not escalators and planes are escalators. What is the logic behind it? Anti-tank weapons are not escalators and planes are escalators,” Kuleba said. “First, what else [does] Russia have to do for everyone to understand that they already reached the peak of escalation? They used, as I mentioned in the beginning, weapons prohibited by international conventions. Why are we so afraid of another escalation? We need to defend ourselves.”

He added: “I don’t understand what else has to happen, what kind of atrocity has to be committed for foreigners to put all this flawed arguments aside and finally provide us with what we need.” Ukraine does not expect NATO’s 30-member alliance to defend it, including from a future chemical-weapons strike, according to Kuleba, but only requires the weapons and equipment to defend itself. “What we are asking is [a] very simple thing,” he said. “We say arm Ukraine and we will do the rest. Give us all the weapons necessary and we will fight for our own land and for our people.”

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