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The discussion to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets reignited after the U.S. and European countries decided to supply Ukraine with main battle tanks.
However, Germany's Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that sending fighter jets to Ukraine is “out of the question.”
“Fighter aircraft are much more complex systems than main battle tanks and have a completely different range and firepower. We would venture into dimensions that I would currently warn against," Pistorius told Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets could be the best option for Ukraine’s Air Force, spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said during a briefing. So far, the U.S. has refused to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine or authorize their transfer by third countries.
On Jan. 19, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the country’s government would look into providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets “if Kyiv asks for it.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky asked partners to give Ukraine longer-range missiles and F-16 fighters during his speech at the Ramstein-8 meeting in Germany on Jan. 20.
Germany does not operate F-16s, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz said fighter jets, in general, are off the table.
“There will be no fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine. This was made clear very early, including from the U.S. President,” Scholz told the German parliament on Jan. 25, as quoted by CNN.
Last week, the German government announced the delivery of 14 Leopard 2 tanks with ammunition, two armored recovery vehicles Bergepanzer 3, two air surveillance radars, 78 truck tractor trains, and 86 semi-trailers, according to the government.