F-16 der U.S. Air Force
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Britain and the Netherlands want to forge an "international coalition" to supply Ukraine with fighter jets. This is reported by the AFP news agency and the British »Guardian«, citing the British government.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had agreed on such an approach on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Iceland's capital Reykjavik, a spokesman for the government in London said on Tuesday evening. Ukraine should receive F-16 fighter jets and also be supported in training. There was no confirmation from the Dutch side on Tuesday evening.
In recent days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for extensive new military aid and support in building a "fighter jet coalition" during visits to Italy, Germany, France and Great Britain. After a meeting with Sunak on Monday, Zelensky had already expressed optimism in this regard.
On Tuesday evening, Zelensky welcomed the new movement in the fighter jet debate. "Yesterday in the UK, we agreed with Rishi (Sunak), the prime minister, that we are working on a coalition of fighter jets – training, aircraft, results," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address of the results of his trip to Europe.
"Yesterday this was supported by French President (Emmanuel) Macron, and today by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte," Zelenskyy said. "A good start for the coalition! Thank you all!«
So far, NATO countries have not wanted to meet Kiev's demand for modern Western fighter jets. Sunak and Rutte now want to work to "build an international coalition to equip Ukraine with fighter aircraft capabilities and support it in everything from training to the procurement of F16 jets," the British government spokesperson explained. Sunak also reaffirmed his conviction in Reykjavik that "Ukraine's rightful place in NATO" is.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, among others, will also take part in the summit in Iceland. Zelensky should be connected via video.
Macron said on Monday that France was ready to train Ukrainian fighter jet pilots. With a view to a possible delivery of fighter jets to Kyiv, however, Macron spoke of a "theoretical debate". Chancellor Scholz was also very cautious about this during Zelensky's visit on Sunday.
The Bundeswehr does not have F16 fighter jets, nor does Britain use this type of aircraft, which is manufactured in the United States by Lockheed Martin. For a delivery to Ukraine, London and The Hague will probably have to convince the US government above all. Asked on Monday whether the U.S. had changed its position on possible F16 deliveries, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby replied with just one word: "No."