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Ukraine ‘sky defend getting stronger’ as allies provide coveted F-16s | The Global Today

President Zelenskyy’s announcement that European allies will present high-end fighter jets comes throughout a go to to their capitals.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has welcomed a “historic” resolution by the Netherlands and Denmark to supply US-made F-16 fighter jets for his nation to counter Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskyy sought the superior warplanes for months to strengthen Ukraine’s Soviet-era air pressure because it pursues a grinding counteroffensive in opposition to Russian forces within the east.

Washington introduced its approval of the F-16 transfers on Friday, and coaching of Ukraine pilots is ready to start this month, which can enable Ukraine to start deploying the jets in early 2024.

The choice is “completely historic, highly effective and provoking for us”, Zelenskyy mentioned alongside Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte throughout a go to to the Eindhoven airbase within the Netherlands on Sunday.

The Dutch air pressure has 42 F-16s and Rutte mentioned the quantity supplied to Kyiv could be finalised after talks with allies.

Afterward Sunday, Zelenskyy travelled to Denmark’s Skrydstrup airbase and was greeted by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

“We additionally know that you just want extra and that’s the reason immediately we introduced that we are going to donate 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” the Danish chief mentioned.

Six of the jets can be delivered by the top of this 12 months, eight subsequent 12 months, and 5 in 2025, Frederiksen mentioned.

“It is a very highly effective help for us – coaching missions are already beginning,” Zelenskyy informed journalists.

“We’re doing our greatest to get much more outcomes for Ukraine. Particularly, immediately we mentioned the growth of coaching missions. Ukraine’s sky defend is getting stronger.”

Alexandre Vautravers, an analyst and the editor-in-chief of the Swiss Army Assessment, mentioned the F-16 growth “is just not a recreation changer however permits Ukraine to remain within the recreation”.

“Till now, we are able to say that Ukraine acquired fairly quite a few fight plane, principally MiG-29s, so it has been capable of preserve the variety of plane it began the warfare with,” Vautravers informed Al Jazeera.

“However the Western nations haven’t any extra ex-Soviet airplanes to decide to this battle and, subsequently, it would must be Western airplanes any further.”

Zelenskyy’s go to comes after a visit to Sweden on Saturday, when he mentioned joint manufacturing of CV90 fight autos and coaching of Ukraine pilots for Gripen fighter jets with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

‘Nuclear’ risk

The long-sought approval to provide the jets drew a warning from Moscow.

Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned Moscow would take into account the F-16s a “nuclear” risk due to their capability to hold atomic weapons.

The Netherlands and Denmark have led a months-long push to coach Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s and to in the end ship the jets to assist counter the air superiority of Russia, whose forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Saturday mentioned coaching had begun for Ukrainian pilots, however it will take not less than six months and probably longer to additionally prepare engineers and mechanics.

Frederiksen mentioned greater than 70 Ukrainian navy officers arrived in Denmark for coaching. Ukraine says it expects a number of dozen pilots to be educated.

Each the Netherlands and Denmark have F-16s out there to donate as their armed forces are transitioning to newer F-35 fighters made by a bunch of nations led by Washington.

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