Ukraine has called for “open deliveries of long-range missiles” from its Western allies and for F-16 fighter jets, President Volodymr Zelensky has revealed, hours after the US and Germany made major pledges of main battle tanks. The Ukrainian President held a meeting with NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, calling to “expand our cooperation in artillery” and hinting at what some of Mr Zelensky’s top officials have said is the “next big hurdle” in the form of fighter jets. Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba earlier on Wednesday said he had spoken to Poland’s foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, about further military aid, including fighter jets.
In a message on Telegram, Mr Zelensky said: “I’ve spoken with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg today… We must also open deliveries of long-range missiles to Ukraine, it is important – we must expand our cooperation in artillery.”
Speaking about the prospect of NATO member states affording Kyiv some of their F-16 fighter jets, Mr Zelensky added: “This is a dream. And this is a task.”
Yuriy Sak, who advises Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, also said fighter jets would be “the next big hurdle”.
He said: “If we get them, the advantages on the battlefield will be just immense. It’s not just F-16s. Fourth generation aircraft, this is what we want.”
Previous requests from Ukraine to its allies for fighter jets have not yielded results but in light of the recent main battle tank pledges from the US, Germany and, two weeks ago, from Britain, will encourage Kyiv that such future promises are possible.
The Dutch government recently said it would consider transferring some of its 50 planes in coordination with allies.
Wopke Hoekstra, the Dutch foreign affairs minister and deputy prime minister, said on January 19 that they had an “open mind” about sending what Russia might view as more offensive weapons, referencing F-16 fighter jets.
Speaking a day before the Ramstein meeting of Kyiv’s backers on January 20, Mr Hoekstra said his cabinet would look into supplying fighter jets if Kyiv requested it.
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