Zelensky Says US Will Provide Fighter Jet Squadrons to Ukraine

Not just F-16s, but also other types of aircraft will be delivered, the Ukrainian leader has said

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that the US will provide “squadrons” of fighter jets to Ukraine as part of a new agreement between Kyiv and Washington.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Fasano, Italy, US President Joe Biden and Zelensky signed a 10-year security agreement. The agreement outlines Washington’s commitment to continuing support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, including weapons supplies, troop training, intelligence sharing, and investments in Ukraine’s defense industry.

In a joint press conference following the signing, Zelensky characterized the agreement as “the strongest” between Washington and Kyiv, emphasizing that it “clearly states that America supports Ukraine’s efforts to win this war” against Russia.

Zelensky stated that the agreement includes “good provisions on weapons for our defense, very specifically on the Patriot systems, very specifically on the supply of fighter squadrons to Ukraine — that’s right, plural ‘squadrons’ — including but not limited to F-16s,” adding that “we have worked for a long time for these.”

While Zelensky made these claims, Biden did not mention the delivery of F-16s or any other aircraft during the press conference. Regarding the Patriots, he informed journalists that Washington has secured commitments from five nations to supply the US-made air defense systems to Kyiv.

Biden also indicated that other countries anticipating Patriot deliveries will “have to wait,” explaining that “everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met. And then we will make good on the commitments we made to other countries.”

Zelensky emphasized Ukraine’s need for seven Patriot systems to protect its military infrastructure, defense industry facilities, and power grid amid Russia’s ongoing missile and drone campaign. He acknowledged that “we discussed the possibility of having five of them, it’s true,” but clarified that this does not mean Kyiv will receive them “tomorrow.” He expressed confidence that “we see, in the closest future, good result for Ukraine.”

Despite US approval of F-16 deliveries to Ukraine by NATO members – the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium – nearly a year ago, Kiev has not yet received a single aircraft. Western media reports attribute the delays to complications with training Ukrainian pilots and the lack of suitable airfields in the country.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the use of F-16s in the conflict would make them “a legitimate target” for Russian forces. He warned that the planes would be targeted even at airfields within NATO countries if they operate from there.