Push to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine "picks up steam" in Pentagon
A contingent of military officials is quietly pushing the Pentagon to approve sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help the country defend itself from Russian missile and drone attacks.
Source: Politico, citing sources "with knowledge of the discussions"
Details: Politico reported that there is renewed optimism in Kyiv that US jets could be next up after the rapid approval of tanks and Patriot air defence systems.
"I don’t think we are opposed," said a senior Department of Defense official about the F-16s, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The person stressed that there has been no final decision and Ukraine has yet to declare that fighter jets are its top priority.
Another person familiar with the conversations between Washington and Kyiv said it could take "weeks" for the US to make a decision on shipments of its own jets and approve the re-export of the F-16s from other countries.
Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, hinted that international partners would provide Ukraine with a multifunctional F-16 light fighter.
Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said that securing new multifunctional fighter jets was a top priority.
Ihnat explained that multifunctional aircraft, such as the US-made F-16, F-15 and some of the F-18 models or their European equivalents, can be used to perform different tasks: effectively fight air threats, including cruise missiles and UAVs, but also carry out airstrikes against ground targets.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that after the decision to supply tanks to Ukraine, Ukraine should be supplied with aircraft, and this is an important task.
The manufacturer of American F-16 fighters said it was ready to supply its aircraft to European countries, which could re-export the fighter jets to Ukraine.
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