Zelenskiy hopes allies will give Ukraine more F-16s

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says he expects Ukraine's allies to take a decision to pledge more F-16s to help his country's war effort.

Zelenskiy made the remark during a video address posted on Telegram during a summit of the NATO military alliance in the United States.

"Today we continue to work in Washington. There will be, in particular, a decision on F-16s very soon. We are increasing the number of aircraft available to Ukraine," he said.

Ukraine has long been pushing its allies to supply F-16s to enhance its defences from long-range Russian missile strikes.

F-16 fighter jet
F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands and Denmark are on their way to Ukraine, officials say.

The first jets from the Netherlands and Denmark are already on their way to Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.

Zelenskiy said earlier that the agreed number of F-16s was not enough and that Ukraine needed at least 128 jets to confront Russia.

Norway will donate six F-16 fighter jets, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said on Wednesday, adding that the jets will be important for Ukraine.

No date was announced as to when Norway will donate the six jets but Gahr Støre said "we aim to start the donations during 2024".

Russian tank
The Ukrainian army has denied reports Russian forces have captured the village of Yasnobrodivka.

He said Ukraine's "ability to defend itself against attacks from the air is absolutely crucial in its defensive battle against Russia".

Gahr Støre spoke before he arrived in Washington DC for the NATO summit.

Last year he said during a trip to Kyiv that Norway would donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine but did not specify how many.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military on Wednesday denied reports that Russian forces had captured the village of Yasnobrodivka in the eastern Donetsk region.

"The published information does not correspond to reality: Yasnobrodivka is under the full control of the (Ukrainian) defence forces," military spokesman Nazar Voloshyn was quoted as saying by Suspilne TV broadcaster.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Wednesday morning that he expected NATO allies will agree a "substantial" package for Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said the package would involve a new NATO command for Ukraine to provide sdefence assistance and training, and a long-term pledge to continue and sustain support for the country.

He said there would be new announcements of immediate military support, including air defence and moves to ensure full interoperability between Ukrainian forces and NATO forces.

He also said he expected allies to reiterate a commitment that Ukraine will become a NATO member.

The latest draft of the summit declaration, which needs to be agreed by all, says NATO will continue to support Ukraine "on its irreversible path to full Euro-atlantic integration, including NATO membership," an alliance source told Reuters.

with AP

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