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Zelensky: Three more European countries ready to train Ukrainians on F-16 jets

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 24, 2023 8:54 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky during his press conference in Kyiv marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2023. (Zelensky via Telegram)
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Three more European countries, besides Poland, have expressed their readiness to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 24, cited by Ukrainska Pravda.

“We have a real feeling that with three other European states - I will not say which ones - there is an opportunity to receive this training and planes,” Zelensky said during his press conference marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Earlier the same day, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki confirmed that his country was ready to train Ukrainian soldiers to fly F-16s “within the framework of a broader coalition.”

However, on Feb. 17, Morawiecki said that Poland was not open to providing Kyiv with long-requested F-16 fighter jets, but it was willing to discuss the supply of other military aircraft.

Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16, Typhoon and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will

At the press conference, Zelensky also said that Ukraine's victory would be "inevitable" if both Ukrainians and international partners remained united and kept their promises.

"So if we all do the important 'homework,' victory will inevitably await us… I want it this year. We have everything for it: motivation, confidence, friends, diplomacy, you (media)," he said.

When asked if the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula could be liberated in 2023, he replied, "Everything depends on us."

"There are military steps, we are preparing for them," Zelensky said. "We are ready mentally. We are preparing technologically: with weapons, reinforcements, formation of offensive brigades... We are training people."

The Ukrainian president said, as quoted by Ukrainska Pravda, that "those who were supposed to manage the state or protect the country but left their cities and villages (after the full-scale invasion started)" disappointed him.

Answering a question about his "biggest mistake," Zelensky said that there had been enough mistakes during the full-scale invasion.

"I make choices every day from morning until night, and I'm a living person… and every day I probably make mistakes," the president said, adding that he hasn't made "fatal mistakes" though.

Reuters: Momentum shifts in US toward providing Ukraine with long-range missiles, fighter jets
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