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Ukrainian counteroffensive to start during April and May, Defense Minister Reznikov believes

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov at a briefing at the Odesa Media Center on 29 March 2023, Photo: Ukrinform
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov believes that Ukraine’s counteroffensive will begin during April-May, depending on the General Staff’s decision and the weather. The Ukrainian Army will start it not awaiting the delivery of modern combat aircraft from allies. He also denied that France was planning to supply Mirage 2000 fighter jets.

Asked when we will see German Leopard tanks on the front, Reznikov noted:

“You will see them during the counteroffensive campaign under the decision of our General Staff, they’re planning that, in different directions. And it will depend on the time […]. I mean, on their decision and weather conditions […]. I think that we will see it during these two months, I mean April and May,” he said in his interview with ERR published on 27 March.

Ukraine poised to start counteroffensive in coming weeks – WSJ

On 29 March, at a joint briefing with Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banožić in Odesa, Oleskii Reznikov said that Ukraine will use the weapons, which it already has at its disposal, not waiting for the delivery of modern combat aircraft from its allies, Ukrinform reports.

“For any counteroffensive, of course, dominance in the air is important, but we will be using the weapons we already have at the moment. These are weapons left over from Soviet times and those already provided and being provided by partners. These are not only tanks but also armored vehicles of various types, on which our crews are currently training in Europe,” he said.

In the interview with ERR, Reznikov said that the Ukrainian army’s MiG-29 fighter jet is equipped with radar systems capable of detecting targets up to a maximum range of 60 kilometers, and is armed with air-to-air missiles with a range of up to 30 kilometers. Meanwhile, Russia’s Su-35 has ranges of 200 and 100 km, respectively. That’s why Ukraine needs more modern platforms like F-16 or Gripen as a missing effective element of the country’s air defense capability, he said.

Modern fighter jets, long-range air defense crucial for Ukraine’s counteroffensive – Air Force

Reznikov said that, besides the period required for the partners to decide on the transfer of fighter jets, there would also be a need for time to train pilots and engineers to operate and maintain the equipment.

At the briefing in Odesa, Reznikov also denied media reports that France plans to send Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and has already started to train Ukrainian pilots. UNIAN says he noted that the Mirage 2000 has roughly the same capabilities as the MiG-29. Earlier, Ukraine’s Air Force denied reports on the alleged training of Ukrainian pilots in France.

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