US, allies may provide new fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s fight against Russia
The United States and its allies are considering providing Ukraine with new fighter jets in ongoing efforts to bolster its military as the war with Russia stretches into its sixth month, Gen. Charles Brown, chief of staff of the Air Force, said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in an interview with Courtney Kube, a Pentagon correspondent for NBC News, Brown said the jets could come from a range of different allies.
“There’s a number of different platforms that could go to Ukraine. … It’ll be something non-Russian. I could probably tell you that,” Brown said. “But I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be.”
Among the options Brown mentioned were U.S. fighter jets, Swedish Gripen fighters, the Eurofighter Typhoon and French Rafale fighters.
In March, the Pentagon ruled out a proposal to transfer of aging Polish fighter jets to Ukraine, calling it at a “high-risk” plan that could further heighten tensions with the Kremlin.
Poland had proposed transferring its fleet of MiG-29s to the U.S. military’s Ramstein Air Base in Germany for eventual transfer to Ukraine, which came as Kyiv begged Western officials for the Russian-made combat aircraft, which its pilots are trained to fly. The Pentagon had called the plan “untenable.”
In the more than four months since the Pentagon declined that scheme, Russia has failed to take the capital city of Kyiv and instead moved its focus to the Donbas region in Ukraine’s east, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv’s military for years.
Also on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. will send Ukraine four additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in another forthcoming security assistance package, which would bring the total number of HIMARS sent to Ukraine to 16.
“Russia thinks that it can outlast Ukraine and outlast us,” Lloyd said on Wednesday. “But that’s just the latest in Russia’s string of miscalculations.”