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Kuleba holds phone talk with Blinken over weapon supplies

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 13, 2023 11:06 AM 2 min read
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Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on May 13 that he spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to coordinate the next weapon supplies to Ukraine, with "close attention" to the importance of providing F-16 fighter jets and the necessary steps to start training Ukrainian pilots.

According to Kuleba, the two also talked about the cooperation with countries of the Global South and establishing the Special Tribunal to judge Russia's war crimes in Ukraine.

Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to holding Russia accountable, underscoring U.S. President Joe Biden's pledge to support Ukraine as long as necessary, according to a U.S. State Department statement.

Providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets will deter Russia rather than provoke it, Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on April 27.

To back up his point, Kuleba went on to list the weapons already provided to Ukraine that some critics thought would escalate Russia's all-out war, including artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, air defense, tanks, and long-range missiles.

"F-16s will not (escalate the war) either. Giving Ukraine F-16s will deter Russia rather than 'provoke' it. Time to take this step," Kuleba added.

Ukraine has been requesting fighters for months to defend its sky and maximize the effectiveness of its combined arms forces during an upcoming counteroffensive.

Of all the available models, Ukraine has shown the most interest in the U.S.-built F-16, which has been in service since the 1970s and is operated by over 20 nations.

However, multiple Western allies, including the U.S. and Germany, have ruled out sending fighter jets soon, while debates about their provision are ongoing.

Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and may result in thousands of deaths.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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