Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov told a news conference in Kyiv over the weekend that Ukraine has already received everything from its “wish list to Santa,” except fighter planes.
“There will be planes, too,” Reznikov said definitively. “The question is just what kind exactly…. Consider that this mission is already completed.”
The news outlet continued:
So far, Ukraine has won support from Baltic nations and Poland in its quest to obtain Western fighter jets. But several Western leaders have expressed concern that providing warplanes could provoke the Kremlin and draw their countries deeper into the conflict, which has cost tens of thousands of lives and wreaked massive destruction.
Kyiv says such jets are essential to challenging Russia’s air superiority and ensuring success in a Russian offensive that Reznikov predicted could begin around the war’s one-year anniversary, Feb. 24.
“Not all Western weapons will arrive by then, but we have the resources and reserves to help stabilize and sustain the offensive,” Reznikov told reporters.
Russia Warns 'Absurd' Talk of Sending Warplanes to Ukraine Risks War Escalation https://t.co/BzuhUvgieF
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 2, 2023
Following Russia's invasion, NATO countries have repeatedly refused, initially, to provide Ukraine with sophisticated and longer-range weapons like missiles and tanks, but eventually agreed to do so. It could be that the warplane issue is the latest example of the West caving in.
"Ukraine has relocated its warplanes and concealed air defense assets, hampering Moscow’s efforts to gain full control of the skies," Breitbart News reported. "After suffering early losses, the Russian air force has avoided venturing deep into Ukraine’s airspace and mostly focused on close front-line support."
At present, according to reports, German-made Leopard 1 and 2 tanks are heading to Ukraine from various countries, including Germany. Reznikov said Ukraine's forces will begin training on them somewhere in Europe this week before they are formally transferred. In all, Canada, Poland, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States have announced they will supply tanks to Ukraine.
Russia, which is continuing a massive mobilization and buildup of its own forces after being pushed back by the Ukrainians, has frequently stated that NATO continuing to supply Ukraine with weapons is only prolonging the conflict and leading to unnecessary deaths. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also said that NATO has become a direct participant in the conflict, though no NATO country has troops (in any significant amount) in Ukraine.
For his part, Reznikov, citing the stream of Western weapons heading into his country and the current state of the Ukrainian army, responded to Russia's rhetoric on Sunday, telling reporters: “I absolutely boldly claim that we have become a de facto NATO country. We only have a de jure part left.”
Ukraine has applied to join NATO, as have two of Russia’s other neighbors, Finland and Sweden. The latter two are on a glide path to membership, though Turkey objects; Ukraine, however, is not.
Russian forces continue to target Ukraine's infrastructure, such as its energy grid. Several Russian rocket attacks have repeatedly knocked out power to parts of the country, only to be repaired and then knocked out again soon after.
Reports say that both sides are preparing for offensive operations when the weather improves, meaning that the war is far from over. Previous reports say Russia has lost more than 110,000 killed and three times as many wounded.