Two weeks ago, the Biden administration tried to supply Polish MIG-29 fighters to the Ukrainian air force. Warsaw would have received a supply of F-35As in exchange. the operation was not successful (among other things, the Polish Fulcrum-E have been reconfigured according to NATO standards) as the Polish government deemed it appropriate not to "provoke" Russia excessively.
Now the Americans return to the charge with the "suggestion" to the Turks to hand over their S-400 long-range surface-to-air systems to the Ukrainians. Likewise, Washington has urged other NATO countries with similar systems (Bulgaria, Greece and Slovakia), such as the S-300s, to do the same.
On March 16, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad made it known that Bratislava could give a favorable response to the American request, but on condition of obtaining replacement systems.
The president of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, on the other hand, has ruled out the sale of surface-to-air missiles to the Ukrainians, as he believes that this would be tantamount to dragging his country into war.
The sale of the Turkish S-400s to Ukrainian forces would have been dealt with by Wendy Sherman, number two in American diplomacy, on her recent trip to Ankara.
We recall that the purchase of the S-400 systems led to the exclusion of the Turks from the F-35 program (100 aircraft in A / B versions). Since then, Ankara has tried to purchase F-16Vs, which proved to be very complicated given the ostracism by the American Congress.
We hardly believe that the Turks will please the Americans by giving their S-400s to the Ukrainians. In fact, despite the fact that there has been close military collaboration between the two countries for some time, Ankara needs Russia, both from the point of view of food supplies (cereals and wheat) and energy.
Turkey has so far expressed its support for Ukraine, calling the Russian offensive "unacceptable", while opposing sanctions against Russia. As is well known, Ankara offered its mediation to the two belligerents.
The S-400s cost Turkey $ 2,5 billion, so the United States should compensate them with an equally valuable military supply. It seems to us a Washington strategy to supply the Allies with Patriot PAC-3 systems, discarded by Ankara as having lower capabilities than the Russian systems (as well as for geopolitical convenience).
Furthermore, serious doubts remain about the Ukrainian army's ability to use the S-400s, systems of which the Russians know every detail.
Photo: Russian Federation MoD