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Zelensky: 'We won't delay counteroffensive' despite lack of F-16 jets
Ukraine will launch its counteroffensive before its allies hand the country the U.S.-made planes, President Volodymyr Zelensky told Scandinavian media in an interview published on April 29.
"It would help a lot... But we understand that we will not delay this, and we will start even before we have F-16s or something else," he said.
Providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets will deter Russia rather than provoke it, Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on April 27.
"F-16s will not (escalate the war) either. Giving Ukraine, F-16s will deter Russia rather than 'provoke' it. Time to take this step," Kuleba added.
Ukraine has been requesting fighters for months to defend its skies and maximize the effectiveness of its combined arms forces during a future counteroffensive.
Of all the available models, Ukraine has shown the most interest in the U.S.-built F-16, in service since the 1970s, and is operated by over 20 nations.
However, multiple Western allies, including the U.S. and Germany, have ruled out sending fighter jets soon, while debates about their provision are ongoing.
Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths, while the country suffered a mass missile strike on April 28.
The April 28 strike was Russia's first mass attack in nearly two months. It targeted several regions far from the battlefield. In Dnipro, the strikes killed a two-year-old and her mother.