Finnish president says no discussion on supplying F-18 Hornets was held
Flag of Finland (Photo:stanjourdan/flickr)
The supply of Finnish fighter jets to Ukraine “hasn’t been discussed with anyone,” said Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, clarifying comments made by Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on March 10, the Finnish outlet Yle reported on March 11.
Finnish Air Force Commander Juha-Pekka Keränen backed up Niinistö’s position that no talks have been held, the Finnish outlet Helsingin Sanomat reported on March 11.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said during her surprise visit to Ukraine on March 10 that her country might consider transferring its old F-18 Hornet fighter jets to Ukraine. She emphasized that the discussion was at the very beginning and it required wide international cooperation.
Keränen says that Finland cannot give up its Hornet fighters until it receives F-35 fighters in return.
Finland doesn’t expect to receive U.S. F-35s until 2026 and needs its Hornets until then, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen told MTV Uutiset on March 10.
According to Keränen, preparing the Hornets for Ukrainian use is a difficult task that will have many stages and requires large investment.
Kaikkonen, in turn, added that the Hornets’ working lives would expire in several years, and there would not be much operational time left in them after. Therefore, the handover of the fighters to Ukraine in the next few years or even later would be quite a challenge.
"Finland has helped and will help Ukraine, but I believe that we have to think over the ways that suit better both us and Ukraine," Kaikkonen said.
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