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Defense Minister on anticipated fighter jet supplies: 'What's impossible today will be possible tomorrow'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 29, 2023 5:15 PM 2 min read
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov pictured during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base on Jan. 20, 2023, in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
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Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told CBC that having secured supplies of modern tanks from the West, Ukraine now hopes to receive military aircraft that could be a “game changer” in its fight against Russia.

Reznikov said his “wish list to Santa" has "fighter jets, aircraft, and probably rockets… long-hand options to hit the Russians' fuel depots, ammunition depots, and their commanders."

The West has so far refused to provide military aircraft to Ukraine. However, Reznikov said that other military equipment and weapons the West once denied supplying, were now coming to Ukraine.

"For me, everything that's impossible today [will be] possible tomorrow," Reznikov said, referring to the aim of fighter jets supplies to Ukraine.

Earlier on Jan. 20, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked allies to give Ukraine longer-range missiles and F-16 fighter jets during his speech at the Ramstein-8 meeting in Germany.

Yurii Ihnat, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesperson, said the country aims to get 24 fighter jets from its Western allies in the first military package of such kind. Ihnat said the package should include two fighter squadrons of 12 combat aircraft each.

Ihnat said that the U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets could be the best option for Ukraine’s Air Force. So far, the U.S. has refused to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine or authorize their transfer by third countries.

However, Ukraine’s Air Force is also considering French Rafale and Swedish Gripen fighter jets.

The Dutch government said it would look into providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, while for Germany, sending fighter jets to Ukraine is “out of the question.”

Germany does not operate F-16s, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz said fighter jets, in general, were off the table.

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