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Stoltenberg: Fighter jets for Ukraine 'not the most urgent issue'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 14, 2023 2:48 PM 1 min read
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attends the first day of the NATO Defence Ministers' Meeting on Feb. 14, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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A decision on providing Ukraine with Western fighter jets is "not the most urgent issue now," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Feb. 14 ahead of a meeting of the alliance's ministers. "But it is an ongoing discussion," he added.

"The urgent need now is to deliver what has always been promised…We need the training, we need the equipment, we need the ammunition, and that's exactly what Allies are now providing and will be a top issue at the meetings today here at NATO," Stoltenberg told reporters.

Earlier, several Western officials also told the Financial Times that Ukraine's needs for ammunition and air defense outweighed longer-term requests, such as for fighter jets, as Russia has reportedly started its new offensive.

According to FT sources, Ukraine's allies will commit to supplying additional munitions and air defense equipment to the country at the 9th Ramstein summit, which is taking place on the sidelines of the NATO Defense Ministers' Meeting in Brussels.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 9 that "several" European leaders expressed readiness to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and other necessary weapons without providing further details.

Meanwhile, only Poland has publicly shown readiness to send fighter jets to Ukraine – but it said the delivery needs NATO approval. The West has been reluctant to transfer aircraft to Ukraine amid fears of escalating tensions with Russia – especially just after green-lighting modern tanks for Ukraine.

UK to look into sending combat planes to Ukraine
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