Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could be set to receive lethal F-16 fighter jets from the US which would provide Kyiv with a huge boost in the war.
Ukraine’s adviser to the Defence Minister Yuriy Sak said the F-16s would provide them with an “immense advantage” in the fight against Russian forces.
He added, “It’s not just F-16s. Fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want.”
It seems that momentum is growing in the White House to supply the modern combat aircraft and an official from the US Defence Department told Politico, “I don’t think we are opposed.”
However, the US official cautioned, that no final decision has been taken to supply the multirole F-16 fighter jets.
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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.
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.”
The single-engine multirole fighter aircraft F-16 is the “strongest candidate” to re-arm Ukraine’s air force, Bagwell said.