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Kuleba: F-16s, other weapons, can help Ukraine regain control over its airspace in 2024

by Daria Shulzhenko January 27, 2024 7:04 PM 2 min read
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks with the Kyiv Independent in Kyiv on Dec. 19, 2023. (Olena Zashko / The Kyiv Independent)
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Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba believes it's realistic for Ukraine to regain control over its airspace in 2024, he said during the press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart, Gabrielius Landsbergis, in Kyiv on Jan. 27.

"If we receive F-16s, if we have combat and reconnaissance drones – that's the importance of our cooperation with Lithuania — if we have electronic warfare equipment and missiles, we will control our sky. It's achievable," Kuleba told journalists.

"All these decisions are currently being implemented. There is nothing unprecedented here. We just need to obtain all these elements in sufficient quantities and in due time," he said, adding that that is why the European Peace Facility (EPF) is so important.

EPF is the EU’s funding mechanism for sustaining European military supplies to Ukraine.

Under the EPF, member states receive reimbursement for weapons they send to Ukraine, with the decisions to allocate and disburse funds requiring unanimous support.

However, EU members have argued over reimbursement rates and the use of the facility to offset purchases, while Hungary has blocked the eighth tranche of funding to compensate EU countries for supplies.

During the same press conference, Landsbergis said that even though the EU member states were "unable to reach certain agreements or coordination" on the issue, he views future steps "more optimistically."

Kuleba said they were working on unblocking the EPF, also adding that there were some positive developments. He also announced that Ukraine and Lithuania have determined joint steps in scaling up drone production for Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

"There is a clear understanding of what, how, and when we will do things in order for Ukrainian-Lithuanian cooperation in drone production to yield maximum results in the shortest terms,” he said.

Earlier on Jan. 26, Kuleba said that preparations for transferring F-16 fighter jets from Denmark to Ukraine are proceeding as planned. In mid-August 2023, Denmark pledged to give Ukraine 19 F-16s, with the first batch of six aircraft expected to be delivered in spring 2024, and the rest by 2025.

Ukraine also expects F-16s from the Netherlands.

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American air superiority fighter that Kyiv has begged for since the start of the full-scale invasion and is expected to finally start receiving this year. It’s a versatile workhorse of a jet that’s fought in dozens of wars and is
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