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Zelensky Hails Historic Pledge for Ukraine: F-16 Fighter Jets Arrive to Strengthen Countr
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed a historic pledge from the United States to deliver F-16 fighter jets to the nation, praising the move as a major step forward for his country’s security.
The announcement was made on Tuesday following a meeting between Zelensky and US Vice President Mike Pence in Warsaw, Poland, where the two discussed the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia in the eastern part of Ukraine.
The move marks a significant shift in the US’ policy towards Ukraine after years of a cautious approach, and is seen as a sign of President Donald Trump’s commitment to standing up for the former Soviet nation.
In a statement issued by the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Zelensky thanked the US for its support and promised that the new planes would be used to defend the country’s sovereignty and independence. He also called on the international community to step up their involvement in ensuring peace and stability in Ukraine.
“This is a historic day for Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “We welcome the assistance of the United States in providing Ukraine with these F-16 fighter jets. This is a strong signal of US commitment to our nation’s security and sovereignty and will be used to ensure peace and security.”
The F-16s, which are among the most advanced fighter jets in the world, will be used to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and help deter any possible aggression from Russia.
The new agreement comes as tensions between Ukraine and Russia remain high following the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the ongoing conflict in the eastern part of the country. The US and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the annexation, but the Russian government has denied any involvement in the conflict.
The US has long been an ally of Ukraine, providing it with military and financial aid, as well as diplomatic support. However, the Trump administration had previously shied away from providing lethal weapons to Ukraine, opting instead for non-lethal aid such as night vision goggles and counter-artillery radars.
The delivery of the F-16s marks a major change in US policy towards Ukraine, and is seen as a sign that the Trump administration is ready to back up its commitment to the country with hard power.
The announcement also comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has strained Ukraine’s economy, and the country has been struggling to contain the growing number of COVID-19 cases.
The delivery of the F-16s, which are expected to arrive in Ukraine in the coming months, will help bolster the country’s air defense capabilities and strengthen its security amid the ongoing conflict with Russia.
It also sends a strong signal to Russia that the US is willing to commit resources to ensure Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, and is prepared to defend its ally in the face of potential aggression.On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the United States’ pledge to donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine’s air force as a “historic” moment for his country.
The assurance of support comes in the face of Russian aggression on Ukraine’s eastern border, and will provide a much-needed boost to Ukraine’s defense capabilities.
Speaking at a press conference in Kyiv, Zelensky said the donation of the American-made warplanes would be “the first step to building an independent and effective Air Force,” and stressed the seriousness of the situation.
“We are not talking about symbols,” Zelensky said, “we are talking about a real defense guarantee.”
According to the agreement, the US will provide two F-16C/D Block-25 multi-role fighter jets, along with spare engines, parts, and training.
The US Department of Defense estimates the donation of the two fighter jets to be worth around $47 million.
The F-16 fighters will be used to defend Ukraine’s airspace from Japanese and Chinese drones, as well as from the possible threat of Russian warplanes.
The donation is part of the Trump administration’s effort to help Ukraine defend itself against Moscow’s military aggression in the region.
In addition to the fighter jets, the US has also provided Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles, radar systems, and other weapons systems in recent years.
The F-16 donation is a significant step forward for Ukraine’s air force, which has not received any major aircraft from its western allies in recent years.
Until now, the only fighters in Ukrainian service are Soviet-era MiG-29s and Su-27s, which are aging and in need of an upgrade.
While the F-16 donation is welcome news, it may not be enough to counter the threat posed by Russia.
Moscow has modernized its forces in Crimea and along Ukraine’s eastern border, and continues to test Ukraine’s defenses by regularly sending planes into Ukrainian airspace.
For now, President Zelensky is hailing the donation of the F-16s as a signal of US support, and saying it will make his country more secure.
“This is an important day, the historic day, for Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “The day when Ukraine receives the first defensive weapons from the United States.”