Finland is open to providing fighter jets to Ukraine

Finland providing fighter jets Ukraine
Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet.

Finnish media reported that the Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin is ready to discuss the supply of combat aircraft to Ukraine. Marin, who visited Kiev on March 10, said Helsinki plans to buy 64 modern F-35A fighters to replace 62 F-18 Hornets. The Hornets could be supplied to Ukraine, Marin said, although she noted that the discussions are at a preliminary stage.

For months, Ukraine has been seeking modern fighter jets from its allies. During talks in Paris on February 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on France and Germany to supply jets "as soon as possible". Subsequently, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren confirmed that they had received a request from Kiev for the supply of their retiring F-16 fighters. Italy is also willing to donate some old attack and reconnaissance aircraft (Tornado or AMX) to Kiev if other European partners do so first.

As pointed out by several military officials, it is not easy to transfer fighters with Western technology to a nation that has always used Soviet-made aircraft such as the MiG-29 and Su-27. It requires extensive training by pilots and technicians, as well as the appropriate equipment on the ground. Moreover, Western aircraft include technologies that could fall into Russian hands in the event of a shootdown.

The easy way out would be for Kiev to receive fighters from friendly nations that are retiring their MiG-29s like Poland and Slovakia.

However, the supply of Western aircraft to Kiev cannot be ruled out, which is why US officials are currently evaluating the skills of Ukrainian pilots to fly different types of aircraft.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Finnish Air Force

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