posted on 04/20/2022 06:00
(credit: Sergei Supinsky/AFP)
After several appeals from President Volodymyr Zelensky, the US Department of Defense confirmed late yesterday afternoon that the Ukrainian Air Force had received fighter jets, without, however, revealing the origin, quantity and type of aircraft. . “Without going into details about what other countries have sent, I would say that (the Ukrainians) received additional aircraft and spare parts to increase their fleet. Today, they have more fighter jets at their disposal than they did two weeks ago,” said the spokesman. Pentagon voice John Kirby. According to Kirby, the US has made it easy to ship spare parts.
Joe Biden’s government tries to distance itself from the image of a belligerent country. Kiev asked Western allies for the Mig-29 fighter jets that their military can fly and that a handful of Eastern European countries have. Kirby’s announcement coincides with an intensified Russian air campaign in Donbass, a region of eastern Ukraine partly controlled by pro-Moscow separatists.
During the early hours of yesterday, Russian troops carried out more than 1,200 bombing raids on Donbass. Kremmina, a city of 18,000 located 560km southeast of Kiev, was the first captured by Vladimir Putin’s forces. The British newspaper The Guardian reported, citing a European official, that 20,000 mercenaries from Syria, Libya and other countries were sent to eastern Ukraine as a kind of infantry reinforcement, without armored cars or heavy equipment. The Russian Defense Ministry issued a new ultimatum to Ukrainian troops entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks, the last focus of resistance in the strategic port city of Mariupol (southeast). The new deadline expires today, at 8:00 am (Brasilia time).
British Frank Ledwidge, a military strategist at the University of Portsmouth (United Kingdom), does not rule out the possibility that the Americans have sent aircraft kits to the Ukrainians. “They could be spare parts to put some inactive Ukrainian fighters into operation and to repair damaged aircraft. It is a very important development, as this is equivalent to giving Kiev the fighters,” he explained to the Post via email.
Between Monday and Tuesday, five flights from the United States arrived at Ukraine’s borders with shipments of weapons to be delivered to Zelensky’s army. Exactly a week ago, Biden had announced $800 million in military aid to Ukraine.
Professor of comparative politics at the Kiev-Mohyla National University (Ukraine), Olexiy Haran recalls that Ukrainians have been requesting the transfer of warplanes since the beginning of the Russian invasion, on February 24. “It’s a very important decision, which comes as the Russians began a full-scale offensive in Donbass. Military analysts believe that the fighting in the east will resemble World War II battles, with tanks, fighter jets and long-range artillery.”
For Haran, Russia failed during the first phase of the war, as it tried to capture major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kiev. “Now the Russians are concentrating on the Donbass and on some points in the south of the country. What they are doing is trying to undermine Ukraine’s critical infrastructure and arms industry in order to reduce the Ukrainians’ ability to resist,” he said. He sees an attempt to intimidate the West as well, a strategy to stop the delivery of supplies.
Volleyball teacher Igor Pinchuk, 29, returned to Irpin two weeks ago after being away from his hometown for nearly a month. He found 73% of the buildings destroyed. “Irpin is only 10 km from Kiv. The city is in ruins, there are charred houses and civilian bodies buried in the middle of the street. People were buried in parks”, he told the Correio. He said that many countries have sent different weapons to Ukraine and showed no enthusiasm for the reinforcement of the fighters. “It’s a shame that the NATO states took so long to make decisions like this. We paid too high a price. Now we need to close the airspace and repel the enemy’s attacks on Donbass,” he said.
Pinchuk sent videos and photos to the report, in which it was possible to see buildings torn in half, car and tank carcasses, and body parts. “There is no more bombing in Irpin, thanks to our armed forces, who have driven out the Russians. Now we are rebuilding the infrastructure and repairing the bridges. Water and electricity supplies have been restored in some places.”
“I don’t wish this on anyone,” says Anna Volodymyrivna Lytovchenko
“I lived in Mykhailivka, a village near Zaporizhzhya (south). We were under Russian occupation. When there were battles in my village, my parents and I took shelter in hiding places to save our lives. The bombings and explosions were terrifying. I didn’t want any of them dead as they were protecting my family. It’s hard to see how people feel under bombing. It’s a situation I don’t wish on anyone. When my village was occupied, we were left without protection. The only thing that could frightening would be the echoes in the distance of the artillery volleys.When they ceased for a moment, he wanted to hear them again.The closer the explosions, the closer the end of the occupation.
Life under Russian occupation is different depending on the city. In some places, everything is calm. In others, Russians kill and rape. Residents of my village were captured and taken to unknown locations. Some suffered beatings and torture. Others were executed. The mayor has been kidnapped. Activists carrying humanitarian aid also disappeared.”