As fighter helicopters and jets are reportedly being assembled in Moscow close to the border, NATO intelligence suggests that Russia is preparing to unleash strikes on Ukraine with considerable air force to break a military impasse.
According to NATO officials on Tuesday, the deployment of aircraft would indicate that it is essential to send air defense systems into Ukraine as soon as possible since Russia has stepped up its attack as the anniversary of its invasion approaches.
At a meeting of officials at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, US defense commander Lloyd Austin noted that Ukraine’s air defenses were “not enough and we’re going to keep pushing until we get more because that threat is out there.”
“We do know Russia has substantial aircraft … and a lot of capability left,” said Austin. “We want to make sure they have the ability to protect themselves in the event Russia decides to introduce its air force into the fight.”
According to NATO intelligence reports, Russia is “amassing fixed-wing and rotary aircraft close to the border with Ukraine,” two defense sources told the Financial Times.
“The Russian land forces are pretty depleted so it’s the best indication that they will turn this into an air fight,” one told the Times. “If the Ukrainians are going to survive, they need to have as many air defense capabilities and as much ammunition … as possible.”
Austin responded, “I don’t have any announcement to make today, “when asked if Ukraine’s allies had considered sending fighter jets to assist the country in its war effort.