| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

Ukraine will launch counteroffensive without Western fighter aircraft, says Zelensky

After appealing on multiple occasions, to widen the Western military aid’s scope for Ukraine, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday said that they will launch its counter-offensive against the armed forces of Russia even though they have not received Western fighter aircraft.
“Frankly speaking, it would help us a lot. But we also understand that we can’t drag it (the counteroffensive) out, which is why we’ll start before we receive F-16s or other models. But to calm Russia down with the fact that we’d still need a couple of months to train on the aircraft and only then we’d start (a counteroffensive). No, this won’t happen. We’ll start and go forward, while at the same time, simultaneously, I think this is very important (to receive western fighter aircraft),” he said.
While addressing the Scandinavian journalists in Kyiv, Zelensky said that there were nations that had F-16 and other “Western kind aircraft” which were “ready to help us”.

“We are capable of putting an end to this war. However, not everything is going to happen at once tomorrow. We need time to train, but we have an understanding how to do this faster, and we understand the logistics behind it. And most importantly, as of today, there are countries that have F-16s or other ‘western kind aircraft’ who want to, and who are ready to help us,” he stated.

However, the Ukrainian leader did not specify which countries he was referring to. The Ukrainian air force only owns Soviet-era fighter aircraft.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was pressed on this point by Zelensky at a meeting held in Kyiv on April 20 and said that the military alliance needed to open its doors for membership of Ukraine.
After facing a Russian winter as well as spring offensive which has made small advances in the east, Ukraine now plans to recapture the land in its east and south in a counteroffensive in the weeks or months ahead.

In an earlier interview, Zelensky had claimed that he carries a pistol and would have fought with the Russian forces to death if they had stormed his Kyiv headquarters when the war began.

“I know how to shoot. Could you imagine (a headline like) ‘The President of Ukraine is taken captive by Russians?’ This is a disgrace. I believe this would be a disgrace,” he said while speaking to the 1+1 television channel.

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