10:49 16 May 2023

Ukraine wants to receive 40-50 F-16 fighter jets from partners

Photo: uk.wikipedia.org

Ukraine's Ministry of Defense revealed the needed number of F-16 fighters that the Ukrainian Air Force hopes to receive from allies.

The adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Yurii Sak, told Politico that Ukraine wants to get 40 to 50 F-16s in total, forming three or four squadrons to protect its skies from Russian bombing.

Kyiv informed Western leaders that the need for modern jets has become more acute since the Russian Air Force began widespread use of guided glide bombs in March, which reach targets at greater distances. Sak said that Ukraine currently has "nothing to stop" the Russian aircraft carrying them.

"Everybody understands that the topic is ripe for discussion. Nobody said that it's impossible. If you compared it with three months ago, when we were still struggling to get tanks, today everybody is talking about the jet coalition — that's a very promising sign," he said. "We understand that our air defense will not be complete without fighter jets, F-16s."

Sak said President Volodymyr Zelensky wants the issue of combat jets to be at the top of the agenda at the G7 summit in Hiroshima and at the NATO summit in Lithuania in July. According to an adviser to the defense minister, the Ukrainian president received "assurances" from Western leaders during his latest European tour that they would discuss this issue in the coming days.

Although Britain, Italy, France, and Germany cannot offer F-16s, Sak said: "They have an important voice in the international coalition." And Ukraine would like them to encourage such allies as the USA and Turkey.

On May 15, Britain agreed to start training Ukrainian pilots in the summer. It is already working with other countries on possibly providing F-16 fighters to Ukraine.

After a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron announced an "open door" for training pilots from Ukraine without specifying the details.


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