Ukraine will now push for F-16 fighter jets, says government adviser

Ukraine will now push for F-16 fighter jets, says government adviser

With major battle tanks from the United States and Germany now heading to Ukraine, Kyiv is now focused on securing modern fighter jets from Western allies.

Yuriy Sak, adviser to the Ukrainian Defense Secretary, told The Hill he was optimistic about receiving Western fighter jets such as the US F-16s, which Ukrainians have been seeking since the beginning of the year. last, when Russia first invaded.

“Every type of weapon we ask for, we needed it yesterday,” Sak said. “We will do everything possible to ensure that Ukraine receives fourth-generation combat aircraft as soon as possible.”

Reuters first reported the news that Ukraine has set its sights on fighter jets.

Ukraine scored a major victory on Wednesday with President Biden’s announcement that the United States will donate 31 American-made M1 Abrams main battle tanks to Kyiv.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said on Wednesday that he would supply Ukraine with the country’s Leopard 2 tanks and approve the transfer of other Leopards from European allies.

Tanks were the last hurdle for Western allies, who cautiously approved increasingly advanced weapons for Kyiv, from HIMARS launchers to Western battle tanks.

Western fighter jets and longer-range artillery units, which would allow Ukraine to strike Russian forces deeper into occupied territory, will likely be the next debate for NATO.

Ukraine currently uses Soviet-era fighter jets, including MiG-29s, which became a point of controversy last March when the United States refused to facilitate the transfer of MiGs from Poland to Kyiv. .

So far, the United States has resisted sending the F-16 fighter jets and does not seem ready to announce their transfer anytime soon.

But National Security Adviser John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday that the United States was “in constant discussions” with Ukraine and “we are evolving them as conditions change.”

“You can’t blame the Ukrainians for wanting more and more systems,” Kirby said. “It’s not the first time they’ve talked about fighter jets, but I don’t have any announcements to make about it.”

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