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Media: Italy is open to sending fighter jets to Ukraine alongside other Western allies

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 20, 2023 2:55 PM 1 min read
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is talking to the media at the end of a European Union leaders summit at the European Council headquarters on Feb. 10, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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Italy is prepared to send up to five fighter jets to Ukraine if other Western allies start doing so, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported on Feb. 20.

According to the article, Italy does not want to be the first ally to send fighter jets "for political reasons," adding that this strategy will give the impression that Italy is compelled to follow the lead of the allies.

On Feb. 16, the European Parliament called on EU member states to contemplate providing fighter jets, helicopters, missile systems, and additional ammunition to Ukraine.

Western allies have approved the provision of advanced tanks to Ukraine, but they have largely remained hesitant to transfer aircraft due to fears of escalating tensions with Russia. For now, most allies are sticking to voicing their openness to sending fighter jets at some point in the future.

On Feb. 19, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said that the training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets in France had not been ruled out.

Speaking of the possible delivery of fighter jets to Kyiv, Lecornu said on Feb. 19 that "there are no taboos for France in the matter."

However, as he told Le Parisien, the transfer of this aircraft "raises very complex logistical and practical issues."

At the Munich Security Conference on February 17, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Poland is not considering providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Nonetheless, he conveyed the country's readiness to cooperate with other NATO member states to offer alternate fighter jets.

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