Modern fighter jets for Ukraine: Defense Minister explains delays in the decision

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Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov expressed his confidence that Ukraine will receive modern fighter jets from its allies, saying that the delays concerning this decision are related to budget calculations. He shared his thoughts during an interview aired on a national TV on 1 May 2023.

Reznikov stated, “I have experienced the evolution from words ‘no, it’s impossible’ to real projects several times. The first time I heard ‘no’ was regarding Stingers in November 2021, when I assumed the office without proper experience and faced significant tasks from President Zelenskyy. But now I know for sure: what is impossible today will be possible tomorrow. We received Stingers from Lithuanian friends with the consent of partners just two months later, in January 2023.

According to the minister, similar situations occurred with 155 mm artillery caliber systems, Himars, MLRS, Iris-T, NASAMS, and especially Patriot systems, which once seemed fantastical but now two divisions are already operating in Ukraine. He emphasized that modern aircraft will undoubtedly be provided as well.

Regarding the delays, Reznikov said that “Of course, we are not satisfied with [the delay] given the deaths and injury of Ukrainian soldiers.” Yet, he said, making their decisions, Ukrainian allies calculate in advance to maintain the systems they supply in combat readiness, repair them and provide ammunition.

Fighter jets is a costly endeavor, with a single aircraft costing around $120 million and ten aircraft costing $1.2 billion, the minister said, adding that he is not justifying the policy of Ukrainian partners but explaining. Supplying the jets, they must consider their budget capabilities, and taxpayers’ agreement to not reduce the level of assistance Ukraine currently receives.

Reznikov says he is confident that the jets will also arrive “to finish this marathon and achieve Ukraine’s victory.”

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