Former Pentagon chief Mark Esper calls for giving Ukraine fighter jets and ATACMS long-range missiles.
According to Esper, Western countries' policy toward Ukraine is correct but too slow. He said that in order to achieve success, Ukraine should have received battle tanks last fall. He urges the White House to be proactive and not hold back from giving Ukraine the ATACMS missiles and fighter jets.
"Rather than responding to a Russian offensive, I’d rather see the Ukrainians go on the offensive now, while the Russians are still trying to train, equip, and organize their conscripts, beat them to the punch, and push them out of Ukrainian territory. But that’s because we’re behind the ball. We should have handed those tanks to the Ukrainians in September or October," the former defense secretary said.
Esper believes that military aid to Ukraine won’t lead to escalation, as the Russians say. He urges the White House to make quicker and bolder decisions concerning military aid to Ukraine.
"We should have approved the MIGs, that would have given them an advantage. If they are going to go into a combined arms fight, you want them to have not only indirect fires but fires from aircraft. We should have sent them ATACMS because that way the Ukrainians can reach deep into Eastern Ukraine, deep into Crimea, knock out Shahed launch sites, knock out missile launch sites, logistics depots, barracks, you name it. You got to have long-range precision fires," said Esper.
Earlier, the Netherlands said it would consider the possibility of providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.