Tanks for Ukraine once seemed unthinkable. Could fighter jets be next?

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A key roadblock is Russia’s extensive air defenses, said Justin Bronk, a senior airpower researcher at RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute. “The idea that Western fighter aircraft would allow Ukraine to operate combat air sorties over Russian territory in any sort of regular sense is just fantasy,” Bronk said. “The reality is that Western fighter aircraft will also be very constrained by the surface-to-air threat by Russian ground-based air defense systems, just as the Ukrainians currently are.”