Ukraine expects to receive F-16 fighters from Poland

The Ukrainian official said Poland sent a “positive signal” about transferring F-16s to this country when some countries have refused to aid the fighter.

“Poland is ready to deliver F-16 fighters to us with the coordination of NATO,” Andriy Yermak, chief of staff to the President of Ukraine, said on January 31. “We have positive signals from Poland.”

Poland, which has strongly urged Germany to move its Leopard 2 main battle tank to Ukraine, has not made a definitive statement on its support for F-16 fighters, but has mentioned this possibility in the military aid round. next for Ukraine.

Asked about the issue of fighter aid during a press conference on January 30, Polish Prime Minister Matusz Morawiecki said Poland “will make a decision in close coordination” with Western allies.

“Any aircraft to be delivered to Ukraine will be done in consultation with NATO member states, like the discussion about MiG-29 fighter aid a few months ago,” Morawiecki said.

Polish F-16 fighter jet takes off from Lask Air Base in August 2020.  Photo: USAF.

Polish F-16 fighter jet takes off from Lask Air Base in August 2020. Photo: USAF.

Ukraine is targeting modern fighters from its Western allies after receiving commitments for main tanks from the US and Germany last week. Ukraine is operating a fleet of old Soviet-era fighters whose capabilities are underestimated by modern Western aircraft.

Although Ukraine has long asked the West to transfer fighters, the United States refused to provide F-15 and F-16 aid. The US last year also refused to create conditions for Poland to transfer MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine due to fear of escalating tensions with Russia.

NATO member countries will have to ask permission from the US if they want to transfer F-15 and F-16 fighters to Ukraine. In addition to these models, Ukraine also wants other Western fighters such as the Eurofighter Typhoon.

It is not clear how Russia will react if the West provides fighters to Ukraine.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced that he will not send fighter jets to Ukraine. “I can only advise people not to engage in the constant competition to pay higher prices when it comes to weapons systems,” Scholz said on Tuesday.

When asked by reporters about the possibility of supporting the option of transferring F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine during an interview at the White House on January 30, US President Joe Biden said “no”.

The F-16 multirole fighter, developed by General Dynamics in the 1970s, is used by the US and its allies. F-16 can reach a maximum speed of 2,121 km / h at an altitude of 12,000 m, a maximum ceiling of 18,000 m with a range of 546 km. F-16 is equipped with a 6-barrel 20mm cannon, 11 mounts that can carry 7.7 tons of weapons.

Nguyen Tien (Theo Hill)

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