The New York TimesThe New York Times

The object of Ukraine's desire: F-16s from the West. But it's tricky

By Lara Jakes, Eric Schmitt and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

31 Aug 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has secured promises from several countries to donate F-16 fighter jets or provide training for pilots and support crew. However, the jets are not expected to be delivered until next year and will only be operational in combat from next spring.

The F-16 fighter jets would not be delivered to Ukraine until next year, but that did not dissuade President Volodymyr Zelenskyy from hopping into one last week in the Netherlands — one stop on a European tour to collect commitments to donate the warplanes as quickly as possible.

There he was in Denmark, praising the government for “helping Ukraine to become invincible” with its pledge to send 19 jets. In Athens, he said Greece’s offer to train Ukrainian pilots would “help us fight for our freedom.” Within days of returning to Kyiv, Zelenskyy had secured promises from a half-dozen countries to either donate the jets — potentially more than 60 — or provide training for pilots and support crew.

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