Armed Conflicts
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Zelensky is urgently asking Macron for Mirage-2000 D fighter jets - Ukrainian forces are "buckling" on the front

The situation on the front is developing badly for Ukraine, taking a dangerous turn.

The war-torn country desperately needs Mirage-2000 fighters to stop the advancing Russian army, which has regained an advantage in the war zone.

Zelensky urgently asks Macron for fighter jets

"Will Paris listen to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's urgent appeal for help?" asks International media, attempting to respond as below:

"President Volodymyr Zelensky replied in the affirmative when asked if Kiev was seeking jets from Paris.

Although he did not provide details, previous statements by Ukrainian defense officials and diplomats expressing the need for the jets and optimism about Paris' response indicate an attempt to put pressure on France to supply larger weapons.


In an interview with French TV channel LCI, Zelenski said: "Yes, we are negotiating for fighter jets." This was in response to a question from the presenter who asked if France would provide Ukraine with Mirage-2000s.

The report also noted Ukraine's dire military situation. It said the Russian military appeared to have "regained the advantage" on the front, where Ukraine's mid-2023 counter-offensive "failed to move the invaders' positions".

"Now well supplied with weapons and ammunition, the Russian military also has the advantage of controlling the skies, which allows them to carry out attacks deep into Ukrainian territory," the report added.

Why does Ukraine need the Mirage-2000 'D' fighters?

Kiev's need for fighter jets in order to launch airstrikes on Russian land positions and reverse many of the territorial losses is expected to give it better leverage in the negotiations that may take place to conclude the war.

Kiev is hoping for the precedent set by the US approval to send F-16 fighters after an initial refusal. F-16s donated by Denmark and the Netherlands are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming months.

Ukraine specifically wants the 'D' variant of the jet (Mirage-2000D). The delta-wing fighter can handle laser-guided bombs with LITENING targeting pods and the SCALP-EG/Storm Shadow missile.


The French Air Force uses about 66 Mirage-2000Ds, which are to be replaced by Dassault Rafale jets. It is an all-weather strike aircraft equipped with corresponding radar, navigation and electronic systems, which assists the pilot during low visibility and low altitude flights.

Ukraine has also persuaded Germany to send the KEPD Taurus air-launched cruise missile (ALCM).

Assuming the weapon is integrated with the Mirage-2000D, it will provide the UAF with tremendous strategic ground strike capability.

The Ukrainian Air Force (UAF) currently operates MiG-29s, Su-27s, the Su-24M Fencer hovering fighter-bomber and the Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft.

UAF chief Mykola Oleschuk had said in mid-January that the aircraft could provide "better ground support to Ukrainian troops".

The French propose the Mirage-2000C

French officials, however, mentioned the Mirage-2000C which is specifically for air defence.

France had about 120 Mirage-2000Cs that were retired in 2022 to make way for the Dassault Rafale. According to several Telegram groups affiliated with Ukraine, the aircraft are estimated to be in good storage conditions.

The French Air Force is also upgrading 48 of its 86 Mirage-2000Ds to make them compatible with new munitions such as the medium-range MICA air-to-air missile (AAM).

This means that the remaining Mirage-2000Ds to be retired can be transferred to Ukraine. However, they cannot launch the MICA. The older Mirage-2000Cs can fire the MICA but cannot fire the SCALP-EG/Storm Shadow.

The version of the Mirage given will depend on what Ukraine considers a priority, namely engaging in aerial combat with Russian fighters or striking its ground targets in the occupied territories.

The LCI report said that France has so far "ruled out the possibility of delivering Mirage 2000D fighters". This is because the "maintenance costs and pilot training required to last at least eight months" would be "too heavy".

Sweden, however, said it was ready to "consider" supplying its Gripen fighters.

Statements by Ukrainian officials

On 16 February, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, Kirill Budanov, stated that Kiev hoped to receive Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft from Paris.

On 23 February, Ukraine's ambassador to France, Vadim Omelchenko, said in an interview with Le Point magazine that Paris and Kiev were currently working on training Ukrainian pilots.

He urged not to believe rumors about possible deliveries of Mirage 2000D aircraft, saying that the Ukrainian Armed Forces chose American F-16s. He also added that Ukraine is still considering all available options for Western assistance."

June is late

Our assessment is that unless the West-NATO supply of fighter jets to Ukraine is somehow expedited, the outcome will be painful for Kiev and definitively in Putin's favor.

Without sufficient ammunition, reserves and air support, Ukraine is buckling in the face of universal Russian supremacy.

June, when the first F-16s are scheduled to arrive in Ukraine in June, is probably too far away in time to affect developments on the operational front.




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