Factbox: Will Ukraine get Western fighter jets and what are the challenges?
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday (9 February) several Western countries were ready to provide Kyiv with aircraft to defeat Russia’s invasion.
Which jets does Ukraine want?
Ukraine has been asking allies to provide modern fighter jets – dubbed “wings for freedom” in Zelenskyy’s speech to British lawmakers this week – to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet MiG and Sukhoi planes.
US-made F-16s are on its wish list because of their destructive power and global availability. It also wants Sweden’s Gripen fighters, though it has said it is still discussing what jets allies could supply.
How soon could Ukraine start using them?
Britain has said it would take years for Ukrainian pilots to learn how to operate new jet models, after Zelenskyy asked for Eurofighter Typhoon jets in London this week.
“Without a pit crew, a Formula One car basically can’t start and it certainly can’t last more than a few laps. When you start doing high-end, sophisticated weapons like fighter jets, there’s a pit crew that comes along with it, and we have to ask questions about that as well.”
Will Ukraine get the fighter jets?
Ukraine is confident it will, and has pointed to previous times when allies were initially reluctant to send sophisticated weaponry, only to relent later.