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Finnish authorities back out on PM's suggestion that Finland could give Ukraine fighter jets
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin's latest statement about possible military aid for Ukraine has apparently come as a surprise to some in the Finnish government.
During her March 10 visit to Kyiv, Marin said that Finland could consider providing Ukraine with Hornet fighter jets.
Following that statement, Finland's Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said that Finland can't spare the Hornets, because it will need them "to protect itself" in the coming years.
Finland’s Air Force Commander, Major General Juha-Pekka Keranen, ruled out the delivery of Hornet jet fighters to Ukraine until receiving U.S.-made F-35 fighters in return.
Both officials said the government hasn't been discussing the delivery of Hornets to Ukraine.
Finland currently has 62 Hornet jets likely to be retired, according to Helsingin Sanomat, while 64 F-35 fighters will be purchased to replace the Hornet fleet.
Ukraine has been asking Western allies for fighter jets that would help it achieve the air supremacy over Russia, to no avail so far.
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told Der Spiegel on March 4 that he was sure that combat aircraft would be delivered to Ukraine by Western countries, calling it “a matter of time” before the decision is made.
“If the Ukrainians need fighter jets, they should get them,” he said, adding that Ukrainians have repeatedly proven that they quickly learn to operate new equipment.
Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16, Typhoon and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory.