Jets to protect skies in Ukraine could come from France

    WORLD  27 January 2023 - 14:39

    France could agree to Volodymyr Zelensky’s demands for fighter jets to defend Ukraine’s skies, the chairman of the French defence committee said on January 26.

    It came as the UK confirmed that British tanks would arrive in Ukraine in time for an expected Russian spring offensive, joining German-made Leopards being sent to Kyiv within weeks, per The Telegraph.

    “Everyone should feel very proud of the leadership role that we have played, one of the early nations to provide tanks to Ukraine," said Rishi Sunak, the prime minister.

    One of the next steps up in Western military aid would be planes.

    Thomas Gassilloud said Paris had conditions on that issue but did not rule out France sending planes to Kyiv in another stepping up of Western support for Ukraine.

    “Regarding deliveries to Ukraine, we must study requests on a case-by-case basis and leave all the doors open,” he said after talks in London with his British counterpart Tobias Ellwood and Ben Wallace, the Defence Minister.

    "So we will see in the coming weeks what happens next as things are moving fast," he added. "The Danes and Eastern Europe countries are thinking about it."

    The conditions are that any donations of aircraft do not undermine French or European security and that they are useful for Ukraine.

    The French government could be prepared to offer some of its older generation planes - likely Dassault Mirages - but Paris is aware of the difficulties in training both Ukrainian pilots and the 10 support staff needed for a jet.

    The final condition is that president Emmanuel Macron does not judge the deliveries of the fighter jets to be a risk of escalating the war in Ukraine into a war between Russia and NATO.

    Defence policy is the responsibility of Macron and his defence council but Gassilloud, a veteran and ally of the French president, is an influential voice outside it.

     

    Caliber.Az

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