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Kuleba: Path to victory 'purely military'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 12, 2023 2:05 PM 2 min read
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The path to Ukraine's victory against Russia amid Moscow's full-scale war is "purely military," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told Radio Svoboda on July 12, noting that Russia must first withdraw its troops from Ukraine to facilitate negotiations.

He also called the delivery of F-16 jets a "very difficult technical point," adding that Ukraine could receive the jet fighters by March 2024 if the training begins in August.

"I think that if by the end of the first quarter of next year, the first F-16s fly in Ukrainian air, piloted by Ukrainian pilots, then it will be according to the schedule," he said.

"We do everything together to speed up this process as much as possible."

An international coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets has been formed, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on July 11.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius, Reznikov signed a memorandum outlining the training terms with 11 coalition members.

Those are Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

"I'm especially grateful to Denmark and the Netherlands for their outstanding leadership in this process," the defense minister added.

According to Reznikov, Ukrainian pilots, technicians, and support staff will learn to operate and maintain F-16 jets and possibly other types of combat aircraft.

The program will start in Denmark as early as this August, and a training hub will also be set up in Romania, allies announced at the summit, Reuters reported.

In May, allies agreed to build the coalition to help procure the U.S.-built F-16 jets for Ukraine and train Ukrainian fighter pilots.

Ukraine has received Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and Slovakia but has been pushing for more advanced aircraft. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has previously said it requires at least 48 F-16 fighter jets to liberate territory from Russia.

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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