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Finnish PM: No one promised to send Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said that "no one promised Ukraine Finnish Hornet jets" but added that Ukraine needs heavier weapons to fight back against Russia, the Finnish Broadcasting Company reported on March 13.
Marin appears to have done an about-face after saying during her visit on March 10 to Kyiv that Finland would consider providing decommissioned Hornet jets to Ukraine.
"It is evident that Ukraine requires more heavy weapons. Fortunately, allied countries agreed to provide tanks, but the next crucial step is to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and broaden its air defense capabilities," Marin said, as quoted by the Finnish Broadcasting Company.
According to the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Marin has discussed the issue with Finland's President Sauli Niinistö.
The president told the media that speeding up the production of ammunition for Ukraine was more urgent than providing fighter jets, the Finnish Broadcasting Company reported.
Finland's Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said that Finland can't transfer Hornets from their arsenal to Ukraine, since they will need them "to protect itself" in the coming years.
Likewise, Finland’s Air Force Commander, Major General Juha-Pekka Keranen, said that the country should receive U.S.-made F-35 fighters in return for sending any Hornets to Ukraine.
According to the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Finland's arsenal of Hornets are set to be decommissioned between 2025 and 2031.
The Ukrainian governernment has repeatedly made appeals to Western allies to provide fighter jets, arguing that air supremacy is necessary to aid its soldiers on the battlefield.
Poland pledged a "limited" number of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine but other allies have no yet stepped forward.
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. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.