The ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine started in 2014, when Russia invaded the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea. This crisis has been consequential for both nations and has concerned several nations, as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The roots of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict can be traced back to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, which led to Ukraine emerging as an independent nation. Conflicts over historical, cultural, and linguistic differences, especially in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, created tensions between the two nations. When Ukraine’s former pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, attempted to sign an agreement that would deepen ties with Russia, it sparked widespread protests in Ukraine, known as the Maidan uprising.
This led to the fall of Yakunovych’s government, and Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 in response, justifying this as an effort to protect Russophone Ukrainians and their strategic interests in the region. Russia’s actions were widely condemned internationally, as many countries considered it a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Following this event, several European nations and the United States imposed economic sanctions on Russia.
Since this war started, thousands of people have died from explosive weapons and many more have been injured. The United States and its allies have given Ukraine significant aid, with the former alone providing more than 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition, helicopters, unmanned Coastal Defense vessels, and counter-UAV systems and equipment.
Recently, it also approved the donation of American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which are currently held by Denmark and the Netherlands. This transfer will go ahead as soon as pilot training is completed, and the US plans to start training Ukrainian pilots itself in October. However, this also means that it could take months before these jets are in use, especially since these Ukrainian pilots need to learn to speak English before they can be taught how to use and maintain them.
Nevertheless, the F-16s would be incredibly useful when they reach Ukraine. The F-16 is a unique aircraft, as it can locate targets in all weather conditions and expertly detect low flying aircraft. Having access to these jets would also complement Ukraine’s ground launched air defenses, which are used to fight off Russian missile attacks. The United States is also in talks with other European nations to donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which could eventually turn the tide of their struggling counter-offensive.
By Margaret DjamongueShare this: