A former top military official in the United States says he hopes Western countries will eventually equip Ukraine with fighter jets, fulfilling one of the country’s most urgent requests.
“I think the F-16s will be provided, it’s hard to know when, but I think they’re coming,” Mike Mullen, a retired admiral and former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a broadcast Sunday. said in the interview. rosemary barton live,
Mullen told guest host David Koman that the shipment of fighter jets to Ukraine could make a “significant difference” on the battlefield, and that Ukraine’s top area of vulnerability was air defense. In recent days, Russia has resumed a series of missile attacks against Ukrainian cities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this week that “the attacks have one goal, to destroy lives and leave humanity with nothing”.
Two Ukrainian pilots are currently training on F-16 flight simulators in the United States, US media reported last week.
Mullen credited the US leadership and other countries in the West for strengthening Ukraine’s ground defenses with artillery and new tanks, including Leopard 2 main battle tanks provided by Canada. He added that Ukraine “has the potential to have a devastating effect on any kind of ground attack that Russia brings forward.”
The war in Ukraine is stuck in a deadlock over the winter, but Western countries are working to once again fortify Ukraine with arms and ammunition ahead of an expected Russian offensive in the spring.
Twenty-five Canadian soldiers are currently training Ukrainian troops in western Poland to use the advanced tanks as part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s mission to train military members of Ukraine. The mission is part of a broader Canadian effort to support Ukraine, which includes more than $1 billion in military aid.
Lt.-Col. Chris Boileau, the current task force commander for Operation UNIFIER, said in an interview on Sunday rosemary barton live that the first cadre of Ukrainian soldiers had graduated from training and returned to the front lines.
Leopard ‘night and day’ with Ukrainian tanks
Boileau said the biggest challenge in training the Ukrainian tankers was the difference between the older Soviet technology and the newer Leopard 2s.
“The top speed, their firepower, armor package and overall capabilities are, to put it mildly, night and day,” Boileau told Common.
“So being able to take a single experienced tanker and then move them to more complex and intensive techniques is a challenge,” he said.
Boileau noted that the size of Operation UNIFIER had increased dramatically since his time in command, with the training force nearly doubling in the last six months. He also noted that “the learning is going both ways” as the Canadians were imparted some skills in urban warfare, but also learned from the experience of their Ukrainian counterparts.
For example, Boileau said, Canadians were hearing about dealing with a “broad drone threat” with which Canada does not have experience.
Efforts to maintain pro-Ukraine unity
There are concerns that Western countries may be vulnerable, with elements of some opposition parties, including Republican representatives in the United States, calling for an end to aid to Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden recently traveled to Ukraine and Poland to reaffirm his administration’s support, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made a similar tour of North America this week, speaking in the House of Commons. It also included addressing
In Canada, Green co-leader Jonathan Pedneault walked back some recent comments around the idea that Ukraine could be using weapons from the West to push it beyond its borders.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre said his party was supportive of helping Russia end the invasion, though he noted Canada needed to get “results for our money”. .
“The problem with this government is not that they don’t spend enough, it’s that they don’t get enough results for what they spend. They spend too much money on back office bureaucracy and on frontline military equipment are not sufficient.”
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