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Latvian prime minister: Delivery of Western fighter jets to Ukraine 'a matter of time'
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told the Spiegel on March 4 that he was sure that combat aircraft would be delivered to Ukraine by Western countries, calling it “a matter of time” before the decision is made.
“If the Ukrainians need fighter jets, they should get them,” he said, adding that Ukrainians have repeatedly proven that they quickly learn to operate new equipment.
Delivering new fighter jets is seen as a significantly tougher logistical challenge compared to providing Western-built tanks because of the increased complexity and difficulty in training and maintenance involved.
Berlin has firmly rejected any possibility of doing the same with fighter jets after pledging dozens of Leopard tanks to Ukraine.
“The question of combat aircraft does not arise at all,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Jan. 29.Other countries have shown more openness to the idea. On Feb. 10, Ukraine officially requested F-16 multirole fighter jets from the Netherlands, which had earlier said the country was willing to look into the feasibility of such a delivery.
During President Zelensky’s Feb. 8 visit to London, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that “nothing is off the table” when it comes to military aid for Ukraine.
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 operated by over 20 nations.
Other models assessed as a good fit for Ukraine include French Rafale, Swedish Gripen, and Eurofighter Typhoon jets.