There is an understanding of which countries could provide F-16 fighter jets – Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky shared that there is already an understanding of which countries could provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
The President of Ukraine announced this during the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ summit taking place in Hiroshima, Japan.
He emphasized that the Ukrainian side has been working for a long time to achieve results in strengthening the protection of the sky.
Zelensky thanked for the supply of air defense systems but noted that this global air defense system is not complete without receiving Western multirole fighter jets.
“The training mission opened for us today is the first step. Then there is the associated number of months to train our pilots. We will work to ensure that these people are educated as soon as possible, I mean experienced, people with a lot of experience, to shorten the training process… I can’t tell you now how many planes we will be able to get, I can’t tell you exactly when it will be. We will speed it up because it is important for us every day,” Zelensky said.
When answering journalists’ questions about whether he is sure of receiving the F-16 fighter jets, Volodymyr Zelensky noted:
“We will work on it, I’m sure, because we already have an understanding of which states we are working with, we were working even before the F-16 training mechanism was unlocked, so we will have aircraft.”
He also shared that on the sidelines of the summit, there have been talks on Ukraine’s acquisition of new weapons systems, but he did not specify which systems were discussed. He noted that he does not want to speak on that yet, as there is no solution at the moment.
“The global issue, as always, is the artillery,” Zelensky said.
US President Joe Biden confirmed the agreement of the United States to train Ukrainian pilots on multirole fighter jets.
“I told Zelensky that Ukrainian pilots will be trained on fourth-generation aircraft, including the F-16. So that Ukraine can defend itself,” said Biden.
He specified that during the negotiations with Volodymyr Zelensky, he received a “firm assurance” that the F-16s would not be used to invade the territory of Russia.
On Friday, May 19, Joe Biden told the G7 allies that the United States would support joint training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
How many fighter jets could Ukraine get?
The Air Force of Ukraine commented on the number of fighter jets Ukraine expects to receive.
“Regarding the quantity, of course, no one will hand over those planes one by one. Aircraft will be transferred by units. And these units are at least squadron-level. In our version, it is now 12+ planes. Western partners have more squadrons, they have up to 18 aircraft. In this way, several dozen aircraft can first be transferred to Ukraine to solve current tasks,” Yuriy Ihnat, Spokesman of the Air Force Command of Ukraine, commented on the air of the telethon.
He also noted that the number of aircraft and weapons is a sensitive issue, therefore, only conditional figures are being spoken about, primarily due to security measures.
In addition, Yuriy Ihnat noted that the presence of F-16 multirole fighter jets would allow to provide protection inside the country, and will also make it possible to push Russian planes further from the borders so that they cannot use glide bombs.
He also added that the Western fighter jets would allow Ukrainian forces to “bring order to the sea” and help the ground forces to liberate the territories.
All this can be implemented due to the range of F-16 fighter jet weapons.
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