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22 Aug. 2023

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Belgorod in exchange for NATO membership and F-16s: what we know about Zelensky's tour to the EU

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Belgorod in exchange for NATO membership and F-16s: what we know about Zelensky's tour to the EU

Ironic offers to exchange russian cities for NATO membership and some good news for Ukraine. Find out what breakthrough decisions were agreed with Ukraine's partners during Zelenskyy's tour

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While Volodymyr Zelenskyy continues his tour of Europe, there are already several breakthrough decisions that have been agreed upon with Ukraine's Western partners. In particular, we are talking about training Ukrainian pilots and engineers, the transfer of American F-16 aircraft, defense cooperation with Sweden, and the production of CV-90 vehicles in Ukraine.

The most important results of Zelenskyy's tour of the EU countries are described in the article below.


When and how many F-16s will be delivered to Ukraine?


On August 19, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said that Ukrainian engineers and pilots had already begun training on F-16s. According to preliminary estimates, it will take 4 to 6 months to complete the full training cycle. 


Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte was the first to officially announce the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine. It is about 42 aircraft that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will be able to receive. On the same day, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the transfer of 19 more aircraft at a joint press conference with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.


"Today we are announcing that we will provide you with 19 F-16 fighters. Together with the Netherlands, we are the first country that can make a serious commitment to provide fighter jets," she said, addressing the President of Ukraine.


In addition, Denmark emphasizes that the first aircraft may be delivered by the end of 2023. At the same time, the Netherlands summarized that the actual transfer will take place immediately after the training of the first Ukrainian pilots.


So, in summary, at least 60 American fighter jets have been transferred, which is more than Ukraine expected. However, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that this is just the beginning, and other countries may join the transfer of aircraft later. In particular, Greece has already joined the training of Ukrainian pilots.


Volodymyr Zelenskyy's ironic response to the question of exchanging the territories seized by russia for peace and Ukraine's membership in NATO during a press conference in Denmark deserves special attention. 


"Exchange of territories? We are ready to exchange Belgorod for our NATO membership," the Ukrainian president replied. 


Have F-16s already been to Ukraine?


Some media outlets have reported that American fighters are already deployed at Ukrainian airfields, but unfortunately, this is not the case. The news spread online because the Ukrainian Air Force Command responded to Western experts' criticism that Ukrainian runways are not suitable for servicing F-16s. In particular, Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said that American F-16s have already landed at Ukrainian airfields:

– in 2012, F-16s were based at the airfield in Myrhorod to ensure security during the Euro 2012 championship;

– in 2018, at the air base in Starokostiantyniv during joint exercises.

In addition, according to the spokesperson, Ukrainian pilots were already able to fly American aircraft.




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Production of CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine: what is known?


During a joint briefing by Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, it became known that the countries had officially declared their intentions to jointly produce CV-90 infantry fighting vehicles in Ukraine.


"This is a sign of the common desire of Sweden and Ukraine to strengthen cooperation in the production, training and maintenance of the CV90 platform," the Swedish Prime Minister said.


In particular, the declared agreement should accelerate the search for opportunities for cooperation in preparation for production, internal production, operation, training and maintenance of Swedish armored personnel carriers. This intention should now be implemented at the technical level.


In addition, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have begun testing Gripen fighter jets in Sweden, which may also be transferred to Ukraine.


Summit in Greece: what does the signed declaration mean?


It has become known that during the Western Balkans summit, the leaders of 11 countries of southeastern Europe signed the Athens Declaration in support of Ukraine's territorial integrity. It should be noted that even Serbia signed the document.


"russia's invasion of Ukraine is a key moment for Europe, creating a new level of awareness of common principles, unity and a common future within the EU. This is a critical moment for the security, peace and stability of our European continent. We have agreed that there can be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities, such as attacks on civilians and destruction of infrastructure, and that all those responsible must be brought to justice," the declaration reads.


Thus, Ukraine reached important agreements during Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to Europe. 


"Now the results of the visits during these four days are at least four new defense packages from our partners. And the main thing we have achieved is the opening of F-16 supplies for our country," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during the veterans' forum.


We will withstand and liberate all territories from russian evil spirits! And as Zelensky said, we can exchange Belgorod for NATO membership. However, russia did not even understand the irony, let alone the fact that they do not understand the obvious - their defeat.


We remind you! Fierce fighting continues in the south and east of Ukraine. The Ukrainian army is storming the occupiers' positions in an attempt to liberate as many occupied territories as possible. Find out more about the successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the front and what Western allies say about them in our previous article.


Photo: Piroschka van de Wouw/REUTERS




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