After a long hesitation, Ukraine could get fighter jets – at least that’s what President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says. What’s behind it? An overview.
The most important things at a glance
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he has received an offer for F-16 fighter jets. “Our partners know how many aircraft we need,” explains Zelenskyj on his website. “I’ve already had an agreement on the number from some of our European partners… It’s a serious, compelling offer.”
After months of demands from Ukraine, there are increasing signs that the country could receive Western-made fighter jets for the first time. But who would deliver these jets? And what does this mean for the war in Ukraine? Answers to the most important questions.
Who has F-16 fighter jets?
Several Western countries have the fighter jets, including the United States, where the model is made. The US has by far the most jets – more than 2,200 examples. They are also using the plane domestically, most recently around the beginning of June, to intercept a small plane that was noticed in the airspace near the capital Washington and later crashed.
Which countries are ready to deliver jets?
Zelenskyy left open which countries want to make the combat aircraft available to Ukraine. But in the past, Britain and the Netherlands, among others, had agreed to form a coalition to deliver F-16 jets to Kiev. US President Joe Biden also moved on this issue, agreed to the training of Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 jets and was open to the machines being passed on to other countries.
What are the F-16 jets needed for in war?
Ukraine insists on the delivery of 120 Western-style fighter jets. Of these, 48 are said to be F-16s to supplement their own Soviet-held fleet. These are MiG fighter planes, which were actually considered to be fast and manoeuvrable, but had competition from the new development of the US model. In addition, Ukraine has various Soviet Sukhoi fighter jets. However, according to a listing on the “Oryx” portal, many of the planes are said to have already been destroyed.
With the help of Western jets, Ukraine wants to regain sovereignty over its airspace in the Russian war of aggression. The Russian armed forces had adjusted their tactics in the spring and increasingly relied on glide bombs. Ukraine was initially unable to counter this.
Demands are also coming from Ukraine to provide not only F-16s, but also Tornados and Eurofighters. Then Germany would also be considered as a supplier. So far, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has categorically rejected this request.
Among other things, concerns came from Germany and the USA that the jets could also be used to attack targets in Russia. However, the West wants to avoid such a provocation towards the Kremlin at all costs in order to avoid a potentially even bigger war.