The Ukrainian authorities want to receive 24 fighter jets from international allies as part of the first phase of the new military assistance, the Spanish newspaper El País writes on January 28, citing the official representative of the command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (APU) Yuriy Ignat.
It is reported that Kyiv wants to receive F-16 aircraft. The newspaper specifies that the supply of almost all types of weapons by the West required lengthy preliminary negotiations. At the same time, Ukraine has not yet received either fighters or long-range missiles from the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance.
Ignat notes that Kyiv, in addition to the F-16, is also considering other options. The Air Force’s priority is to get American F-16s, although Kyiv is considering the option of French Rafale and Swedish Gripen.
The possible sending of combat aircraft to Ukraine is of concern in Western Europe, says a representative of the command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Ignat adds that the Kyiv authorities currently do not have the funds to buy Rafale fighters. El País also points to the high cost per flight hour of French aircraft and the price of Western aircraft.
On January 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Kyiv expects to receive combat aircraft, artillery and long-range missiles from the West. He stressed that “we must also expand our cooperation in artillery, we must enter the supply of aircraft for Ukraine.”
Also, Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Sak, in an interview with Reuters, said that the Ukrainian government would insist on the transfer of Western fighters to the country after it received the tanks. He believes that if Kyiv gets fighter jets, it will be a huge advantage for him on the battlefield.
This is not the first statement by the Ukrainian authorities about the supply of fighter jets. On January 25, Der Spiegel magazine reported that after the West promised to supply Kyiv with Leopard 2 tanks, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnik requested fighter jets, warships and submarines.
Western countries have stepped up military and financial assistance to Ukraine against the backdrop of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbass, which began on February 24 last year. The decision to hold it was made against the backdrop of the aggravated situation in the LPR and DPR due to increased shelling by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
For more up-to-date videos and details about the situation in Donbass, watch the Izvestia TV channel.