President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the speed of the delivery of F-16 fighter jets “depends on Ukraine.”
This comes as the Netherlands and Denmark are to send F-16s to Ukraine and the Danish Air Force has already started to train Ukrainian pilots.
Zelenskyy said at a press conference following the Third summit of the Crimea Platform in Kyiv, “As for the F-16, as the main aircraft of the Ukrainian air fleet in the future: we have an agreement with Denmark. I am very grateful to the Prime Minister.
“We will have 19 fighters. They will go through different stages.
“Unfortunately, all this is not fast, because it depends today not only on Denmark.”
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He added, “it depends on Ukraine.
“We have to provide our respective pilots, specialists, engineers. I’ll tell you this way: several pilots are serviced by dozens of technical personnel.
“Therefore, it is very important to choose and send all the guys. I’m not talking about translators, training, etc.”
President Zelensky said that Ukraine still needs to prepare the infrastructure for modern fighter jets and warplanes in parallel.
He added, “We need to understand that our infrastructure is not modern for the F-16. We will build it as soon as possible. This is our assignment.
“This is the task of our Air Forces. And sending pilots is the task of our military.”
Danish Defence Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said, “It makes me proud that Denmark, together with the Netherlands, will donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine’s fight for freedom against Russia and its senseless aggression.
“Denmark’s support for Ukraine is unwavering, and with the donation of F-16 aircraft, Denmark is now leading the way.”
Ellemann-Jensen added, “We donate weapons under the condition that they are used to drive the enemy out of the territory of Ukraine. And no further than that.
“Those are the conditions, whether it’s tanks, fighter planes or something else.”
The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, warned that this is “an escalation.”
“The fact that Denmark has now decided to donate F-16 aircraft to Ukraine leads to an escalation of the conflict,” he told the Ritzau news agency.
“By hiding behind a premise that Ukraine itself must determine the conditions for peace, Denmark seeks with its actions and words to leave Ukraine with no other choice but to continue the military confrontation with Russia.”