By Autumn Spredemann
Officials from the United States have discussed sending fighter jets to Ukraine as weapons, ammunition, and supportive defense equipment, continue to flow into the European nation while Russia’s invasion nears the end of its second week.
In a March 6 statement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Antony Blinken said Poland had the “green light” to send fighter jets to Ukraine and assured the reinforcement of military planes from the United States should Poland’s armed forces choose to deploy fighter jets.
However, Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said on March 7 its military won’t send aerial combat support to Ukraine.
The Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, requested on March 4 that Europe, the United States, Canada, and Britain, impose new sanctions on Russia and also send military aircraft to the embattled nation immediately.
President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated Kuleba’s plea for fighter jets the following day in a Zoom call to the U.S. Congress. Zelensky also called for tougher sanctions on Russia.
Kuleba said, “Russia tries to turn Ukraine into Syria. The tactics they employ are very similar to the ones they excelled [at] in Syria.”
More US Firepower
Meanwhile, the House is set to approve an additional $10 billion aid package for Ukraine this week, over half of which is slated to be used for defense and military support.
U.S. President Joe Biden gave the state department authorization on Feb. 26 to send $350 million in weapons to Ukraine two days after Russia launched a full-bore attack on the European nation.
Built into the new Ukraine support package is an allotment for “weapons system upgrades.”
Top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness subpanel, Florida Rep. Michael Waltz said, “Zelensky needs more ammo now!”
Waltz added Biden’s deterrence strategy relies too heavily on “soft power diplomacy” in hopes Putin won’t escalate the conflict.
He also pointed out President Zelensky and other Congressional members called for weapons to be shipped to Ukraine before Russia launched the invasion on Feb. 24.
The List Goes On
Concurrently, nations worldwide continue sending weapons and defensive equipment to Ukraine, with Australia, Poland, Japan, Croatia, Slovenia, Norway, and Denmark, offering sizable contributions.
Other countries besides the United States delivering artillery and supplies to Ukraine since Feb. 24 include Canada, Sweden, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Spain, and Finland.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the shipment of $50 million in “lethal military assistance” for Ukraine on March 1.
“We will work with, and through, our closest partners and allies to supplement the already substantial support from the international community,” Morrison said.
On March 4, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the Asian nation would deliver bulletproof vests along with other “defense supplies” as part of a comprehensive aid package, including humanitarian assistance, to Ukraine.
Kishida spoke with Zelensky personally and relayed the plan to send support.
During the same call, Kishida told the Ukraine president Japan strongly condemns Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
Japan’s prime minister called the assault on the facility, which is the largest in Europe, “totally unacceptable and outrageous.”
Minister of Defense Mario Banozic announced an $18 million security assistance package on Feb. 28, including infantry weapons like rifles and machine guns, associated ammunition, and protective equipment. The minister said the country would send enough to outfit four brigades.
“We are talking about rifles and machine guns with the calibers requested by the Ukrainian side,” Banozic clarified.
The European country’s government shipped rifles, ammunition, and helmets to Ukraine on Feb. 28, which is a fast shift in policy from earlier last month when Defence Minister Matej Tonin said the country would ship supportive equipment but no weapons.
Tonin said military support for Ukraine has become essential and must arrive quickly. “Every day is important. Every day that Ukraine endures raises the chances for peace talks and the price of the war for Putin.”
In a rare move, the Scandanavian nation decided to send 2,000 M72 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine on Feb. 28.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said, “The Government decided this afternoon that Norway will offer arms support to enable Ukraine to defend itself against the military attack from Russia.
“We are therefore aligning our actions with our close allies and the other Nordic countries.
“Norway has a restrictive policy with regard to exporting defense-related products, but Ukraine is now in a desperate and extraordinary situation.”
On Feb. 28, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen confirmed a shipment of 2,700 anti-tank missiles being sent to the Ukrainian army.
“This is the first time in recent history that Denmark has donated weapons to a country at war,” Frederiksen noted.
Though the Danish government admitted they were considering sending more artillery.
“I will certainly not deny that there may be more, but we look at it continuously,” Defense Minister Morten Bodskov said on March 2.
The country is a critical lifeline for refugees fleeing the conflict and also the primary route for supplies being shipped into Ukraine. Polish officials have donated weapons and defensive equipment to the embattled nation amid its delicate political waltz.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the majority of military support Poland is sending to neighboring Ukraine are “defensive weapons.”
“Russia has committed a criminal attack on Ukraine and is a threat not only to its territorial integrity but also to its sovereignty and independence,” Morawiecki added.