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US to supply 'squadrons of fighter jets to Ukraine Zelensky
14 Jun 2024

Not just F-16s, but also other types of aircraft will be delivered, the Ukrainian leader has said

The US will provide "squadrons" of fighter jets to Ukraine under a new deal between Kiev and Washington, Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky has claimed.

US President Joe Biden and Zelensky signed a 10-year security agreement on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Fasano, Italy on Thursday. Under the deal, Washington has pledged to keep backing Ukraine in the conflict with Russia by supplying weapons, training its troops, sharing intelligence and investing in the country's defense industry.

Speaking at a joint press-conference with Biden after the signing, the Ukrainian leader said that "the strongest agreement" between Washington and Kiev "clearly states that America supports Ukraine's efforts to win this war" against Russia.

The deal "has good provisions on weapons for our defense, very specifically on the Patriot systems, very specifically on the supply of fighter squadrons to Ukraine - that's right, plural 'squadrons' - including but not limited to F-16s," Zelensky claimed. "We have worked for a long time for these," he added.

Biden said nothing about the deliveries of F-16s or any other aircraft during the press-conference. As for the Patriots, he told the journalists that Washington has so far received commitments from five nations to supply the US-made air defense systems to Kiev.

Other counties which are expecting the deliveries of Patriots are "going to have to wait," the US president said. "Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met. And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries," he explained.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine needs seven Patriots to protect its military infrastructure, defense industry facilities and power grid amid Russia's large-scale missile and drone campaign. "We discussed the possibility of having five of them, it's true," he said. It does not mean that Kiev will get the systems "tomorrow," the politician acknowledged, adding that "we see, in the closest future, good result for Ukraine."

The US had approved the delivery of American-designed F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by NATO members - the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Belgium - almost a year ago, but Kiev has not received a single plane yet. Western media reports have blamed the delays on complications with training Ukrainian pilots and the lack of proper airfields in the country.

In March, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said that the use of F-16s in the conflict will make them "a legitimate target" for Russian forces, warning that the planes will be struck even at airfields inside NATO countries if they operate from there.


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