An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday, January 28, that expedited discussions are currently underway between Ukraine and its Western allies about requests for more long-range missiles.
After receiving modern main battle tanks from the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere, Ukraine is now looking for missiles that will help take out Russia’s ammunition depots in anticipation of a new offensive.
“To drastically reduce the Russian army’s key weapon – the artillery they use today on the front lines – we need missiles that will destroy their depots,” Mykhailo Podolyak said on the Ukrainian Freedom television network.
Podolyak also specifically noted that Russian forces have more than 100 ammunition depots on the Crimean Peninsula alone, which would explain Russia’s extreme fortification of the region in recent months.
F-16s Could Be Coming to Ukraine
The fighter planes have been requested on several occasions by the Ukrainian government, and sources close to the discussions say that F-16 jets could potentially help the Ukrainian military defend against missile and drone strikes.
To date, the White House has focused on sending medium-range missiles and air defense systems.
With Ukraine preparing to launch a new offensive in the spring – and with Russia planning to do the same – now would certainly be the time for F-16 jets to be sent to Ukraine if the White House has any intention of doing so.
Is the West Less Scared Of Russia?
With more long-range missiles on the way, tanks headed from the United States and Germany to Ukraine, and the idea of sending F-16 fighter jets picking up steam in Washington, it looks as though Western leaders are now less concerned about retaliation from Russia.
For the last year, Western leaders have resisted calls from Ukraine for the most modern weaponry and vehicles, first sending Soviet-era weapons that Ukrainian soldiers were familiar with and later sending NATO-standard weapons and coordinating the necessary training.
Even when the West began sending NATO weapons, however, care was taken to ensure that Russia would not see the move as an act of war from the West.
While the United States and other allies are still taking care to minimize the chances of Russia broadening the scope of its aggression, it certainly seems as though Western countries are less concerned by Putin’s response than they were even just six months ago.
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Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.