Britain and the Netherlands are working on an “international coalition” to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighter jets that Kyiv says are vital to its defence as Russian ramps up its aerial strikes, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.
The two NATO allies are trying to get the US-made warplanes to Ukraine as well as training Kyiv’s pilots to fly them, according to the Downing Street readout following a meeting between Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the Council of Europe Summit in Iceland.
Ukraine, which has been saying the fighter jets are essential to defend against Russian missile and drone attacks, welcomed the announcement from the British and Dutch leaders.
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“We need F-16s, and I am grateful to our allies for their decision to work in this direction, including training our pilots,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Yermak said Belgium, another NATO ally, in particular, had “confirmed its readiness to train” Ukrainian pilots.
Britain does not have F-16s in its air force, but the Netherlands and Belgium do. The US Air Force has almost 800 F-16s in its fleet.
Speaking in the United Kingdom Monday, Zelensky welcomed promises of fresh military aid from European leaders – but renewed his demands to be provided with modern fighter jets.
INSTAGRAM : Af24news