F-16 may not be first warplane Ukraine to receive – Kuleba


Ukraine focuses on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets due to their massiveness on the market, but does not rule out that they will not be the first foreign aircraft provided to the country by partners.

This was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, who spoke at the national telethon, Ukrinform reports.

“It doesn’t matter what these foreign aircraft will be: be it an American F-16, a Swedish Gripen, French Mirage or Rafale, or be it a Eurofighter – it’s all irrelevant. The main thing is to open a position, remove this taboo, and get the first squadron of aircraft, and then we will decide on availability on the market, on maintenance, and which model to bet on,” he said.

Read also: Ukraine should immediately receive longer-range artillery and F-16 jets – Herbst

“As of now, from the perspective of massiveness, market availability, and maintenance, the base model is the F-16, but it is not a fact that the F-16 will be the first foreign aircraft that we will receive,” Kuleba concluded.

The head of the Foreign Ministry said that he has no doubt Ukraine will unclock this option, and the authorities are working on it as a team. In addition, he explained that the decisions regarding the warplanes are being blocked by psychological arguments – fear of escalation, reasoning that it takes a long time to master it, and that it’s not known whether the weapons will fall into Russian hands – none of which, according to the minister, were justified before.

“When they tell us about escalation, we answer very simply: “Where else? What else do you need to happen for you to stop talking about escalation?” And our partners have no answer to this question. They understand that this argument of escalation is beyond the zone of rational arguments. It is in the zone of fear management,” the head of Ukrainian diplomacy noted.

As reported by Ukrinform, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, said previously that Ukraine is negotiating with its allies on the transfer of combat aircraft and long-range missiles.

The British government considers the handover of combat aircraft to Ukraine impractical given the difficulties of operating such equipment. Joe Biden answered “no” to the question of whether the United States is going to transfer American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Source: F-16 may not be first warplane Ukraine to receive - Kuleba

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