Warplanes on the way, ‘mission completed’ — Ukraine minister

US f16 fighter jets

The defence minister said despite previous statements by Western leaders saying that warplanes would not be delivered, Ukraine’s allies will agree to deliver fighter aircraft to fight Russian soldiers.

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, also said during a press conference on Sunday that Russia will launch a significant offensive in the upcoming weeks, but Ukraine has the troops and resources to fend off such an attack.

Ukraine’s military will halt the operation despite tanks and other weapon systems from the West not arriving in time, he said.

“There will be planes, too,” Reznikov predicted. “The question is just what kind exactly … Consider that this mission is already completed.”

Poland and the Baltic states have so far backed Ukraine in its effort to acquire Western fighter jets. However, a number of Western officials have voiced worry that sending in jets may provoke the Kremlin and entangle their countries more in the conflict, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives and caused immense destruction.

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Such jets, according to Kyiv, are necessary to counteract Russia’s air dominance and ensure victory in a Russian onslaught that Reznikov foresaw may start around the war’s one-year anniversary, on February 24.

Reznikov told reporters, “Not all Western weapons will arrive by then, but we have the resources and reserves to help stabilise and sustain the offensive.”

Western leaders have resisted several of Ukraine’s requests since the start of the conflict, such as for longer-range missiles and tanks, only to later give them. The most recent example is the warplanes.