MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Kiev is in talks on getting various Western-made warplanes, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has not received US-made F-16 aircraft yet. "We are working on several aspects. First, we are working on related infrastructure and technical equipment, while pilots are undergoing training, as well as technical experts. That said, we will receive the F-16s in the short term. We have also placed some kind of medium-term orders for our defense forces. <...> It’s about 2027-2030," he told the Rada TV channel, when asked if the first F-16 fighter jets would be delivered to Ukraine before the end of the year.
"We aren’t discussing the F-16 alone. The list is long," Umerov went on to say. "There are no limits on the transfer of technologies and the use of various platforms, systems and weapons," he said in response to a question if, apart from the F-16s, Ukraine would also get other warplanes. The Ukrainian defense chief noted that Kiev would soon receive F-16 fighter jets but did not specify when that would happen.
Reuters reported earlier that Ukraine had requested the US to provide it with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) air defense system, F-18 Hornet fighter jets, Apache and Black Hawn helicopters, C-17 Globemaster transport jets and C-130 Super Hercules military transport aircraft. According to the news agency, Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials presented a list of armaments the country needs at a closed-door session of a conference in Washington, which was attended by government officials and defense industry executives.
Ukraine has long been asking its Western partners to supply F-16 fighter jets. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that F-16 jets could reach Ukraine no earlier than the spring of 2024. Kiev says it hopes that it will receive these aircraft in the first half of 2024. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that "there is not a silver bullet, not a single [weapons] system that by itself will fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield.".