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Norwegian PM confirms F-16 pledge to Ukraine

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 24, 2023 7:08 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) shakes hands with Norway's Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store (L) during a press conference following their talks in Kyiv, on Aug. 24, 2023. (SERGEI CHUZAVKOV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre confirmed that his country would provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets during his visit to Kyiv on Aug. 24.

Norway will allocate two jets immediately for Ukrainian pilots to train on, but the government has yet to work out the total number of aircraft it can send Ukraine, Støre said at a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The time frame for the delivery is also being decided, he added.

The move was first reported earlier the same day by the Norwegian TV 2 television channel, citing unnamed sources.

Norway's Head of Government has also pledged to provide Ukrainian forces with IRIS-T anti-aircraft missiles and mine-clearing equipment, as well as assist Kyiv in securing its gas and power supply.

Reznikov: At least 6-7 months before Ukraine obtains F-16s
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Aug. 22 that it will take at least six to seven months for Ukrainian staff and infrastructure to receive F-16 fighter jets pledged by Western allies.

At the news conference, Zelensky thanked Norway’s government for the "important and historic" decision to transfer the combat aircraft to Ukraine.

When asked whether “such a small” amount of F-16 aircraft pledged to Ukraine is enough, Zelensky said he believed “one should be grateful for any number. And how did you get the idea that there will be so few? We’ll see.”

Norway has become the third country to pledge the U.S.-made fourth-generation aircraft to bolster Ukraine's Air Force, following Denmark and the Netherlands.

Denmark has officially announced that it will provide Kyiv with 19 of its F-16 fighter jets, with the first batch of six planes expected to arrive by the New Year, according to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Upon meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Aug. 20, Zelensky said the Netherlands would supply Ukraine with 42 F-16 fighter jets.

Air Force: F-16 jets can change course of war in Ukraine
F-16 fighter jets can change the course of events in Russia’s war against Ukraine, providing Ukrainian troops with much-needed air superiority in occupied territories, according to Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat.
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