Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky could secure 24 multirole F-16 fighter jets which will be a further game changer for Kyiv fighting the war against Russia.
Western allies have been formally asked to provide the F-16s which would be the first military package if this kind in Ukraine.
Spokesman Yurii Ihnat said Ukraine hope to secure two fighter jet squadrons which will comprise of 12 combat jets each, he added that in an interview with El Pais the French are considering the Rafale, F-16s and the Swedish made Gripen.
A senior defence source told the Telegraph, “never say never” when asked over the fighter jets being sent to Ukraine, then insisted that fighter jets are “not the priority now.”
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The current priority is to get Ukrainian soldiers trained and the tanks sent to Ukraine, it is thought that there is now a total of 321 which will be sent to Kyiv.
Vadym Omelchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to France, said on Friday, “As of today, numerous countries have officially confirmed their agreement to deliver 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine.
“Delivery terms vary for each case, and we need this help as soon as possible.”
The Telegraph also reported that the British Army have concerns they’ve taken on the “lion’s share” of sending millions of pounds worth of equipment to Ukraine.
The paper claims senior defence sources would like the RAF and Royal Navy to step up and provide equipment to Ukraine to help “shoulder the burden.”
The Telegraph reported that an insider said, “If we are serious about ensuring Ukraine wins, then we should follow through.”
Another source then defended the RAF and Royal Navy saying, “tanks are how you break through lines,” but others said that sending fighter jets are simply “not the priority now.”
The Netherlands could also send F-16 fighter jets and the “Danes and Eastern European countries are thinking about it.”
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the government has an “open mind” about donating F-16s if should Kyiv aks.
The chairman of the French Defence Committee, Thomas Gassilloud had talks in London with Tobias Ellwood and Defence Minister Ben Wallace when he said they could send the fighter jets.
Gassilloud said, “Regarding deliveries to Ukraine, we must study requests on a case-by-case basis and leave all the doors open.
“So, we will see in the coming weeks what happens next as things are moving fast.
“The Danes and Eastern European countries are thinking about it.”
Retired Air Marshal and combat pilot said by providing Volodymyr Zelensky with further air defence systems this will provide Kyiv with the upper hand which will help with the “restoration of its territorial integrity.”
In an opinion piece for The Telegraph, Air Marshall Greg Bagwell wrote, “We need to be clear what the aim of our support is.
“Our current piecemeal and slow transfer of equipment is more akin to a ‘not lose’ strategy; a strategy that is paid for in Ukrainian blood and relies on compromise or Russian capitulation – neither of which look likely outcomes.”
He added, “However, I believe it is to ensure that Ukraine wins its war with Russia, where winning means the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
The single-engine multirole fighter aircraft F-16 is the “strongest candidate” to re-arm Ukraine’s air force, Mr Bagwell said.