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Shmyhal: Kyiv expects to receive first F-16s this summer

Defense Minister Umerov also said Ukraine is anticipating the delivery of its first F-16 fighter jets “very soon,” but has criticized delays in receiving crucial foreign military aid, with only half arriving on time.
Shmyhal: Kyiv expects to receive first F-16s this summer

During a working meeting in Prague, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and European Union leaders discussed providing Ukraine with air defense systems. “We expect to receive the first F-16 aircraft this summer,” the prime minister said.

Ukrainian delegation held a broad working meeting on 28 May in Prague with the prime ministers: Petr Fiala of the Czech Republic, Evika Silina of Latvia, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and President Andrzej Duda of Poland.

Shmyhal also said Ukraine’s interest in establishing joint ventures, technology transfers, and funding for its production facilities.

He thanked the EU for creating the Ukraine Assistance Fund within the European Peace Facility, saying, “We currently consider it necessary to establish a mechanism as soon as possible for our partners to purchase weapons for the Ukrainian army from Ukrainian manufacturers, with subsequent compensation from this Fund.”

The parties discussed the Global Peace Summit, scheduled for 15-16 June in Switzerland. The prime minister expressed confidence that “today’s high-level negotiations will yield very good results for Ukraine on the battlefield and achieving a just peace.”

In an interview with Reuters, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said, “At this stage, we are focused on personnel training, pilots, infrastructure, and engaging operational and repair teams.” Umerov hopes the F-16 fighter jets will be delivered “very, very soon.”

He also said Ukraine needs more weapons, including long-range missiles, to counter Russian forces and allow them to break through.

The defense chief noted that Ukraine is grateful to Western countries for all the assistance provided, but only half of it is delivered on time. “Timing is crucial, and to repel attacks, we need the supplies to be delivered on time,” Umerov said.

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