Ukraine will not receive Western jets “anytime soon,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this week, adding that the country is instead focusing on modernizing its existing military aircraft.
The minister's comments come amidst the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, which has been ongoing since 2014. Kuleba stated that the country is still in need of Western military aid, but that it will not be coming in the form of new jets.
“We are not hoping for a breakthrough in the near future, when we can get jets from the West,” he said. “Our focus has been on modernizing our existing military aircraft. We have already achieved a certain level of success in this field.”
Kuleba added that Ukraine has already invested in modernizing its military aircraft, and that they are now “capable of defending our airspace”. He also noted that the country expects to see significant improvements in its air defense capabilities over the next decade.
The foreign minister's remarks come as Ukraine continues to face a military buildup from Russia on its eastern border. Russia has increased its military presence in the region, and has been accused of sending troops and weapons to pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
Kuleba's comments also come as the United States and other Western countries have been providing Ukraine with military aid, including weapons and training. The US has also been providing Ukraine with economic aid, including loan guarantees, to help the country during the pandemic.
Despite this, Kuleba said that Ukraine will not receive Western jets “anytime soon”. He noted that the country is instead focusing on modernizing its existing military aircraft, and that it expects to see significant improvements in its air defense capabilities over the next decade.