Portugal joins ‘fighter jet coalition’ for Ukraine, FM Kuleba says

20 May, 01:35 AM
Dmytro Kuleba (Photo:TT News Agency/Christine Olsson via REUTERS)

Dmytro Kuleba (Photo:TT News Agency/Christine Olsson via REUTERS)

Portugal is ready to train Ukrainian pilots and aircraft mechanics to operate modern Western fighter jets, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a message on the ministry’s website on May 19.

Kuleba thanked the Portuguese government for deciding to join the international effort to equip Ukraine with modern aircraft by training Ukrainian pilots and mechanics.

"In view of the intensification of Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and villages, it is critically important that Ukraine has the ability to remove the Russian threat from Ukrainian skies," the minister said.

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The Portuguese side also confirmed its readiness to continue supporting Ukraine on its path to EU membership. In addition, the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Portugal coordinated their positions ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius. Kuleba emphasized the importance of the Alliance's leaders making a political decision on determining the algorithm for Ukraine's accession to NATO.

Earlier on May 19, NBC News reported that the United States and its allies are planning to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. While it’s unclear when the aircraft will be delivered, an unnamed U.S. official said they won’t arrive in time to participate in Ukraine’s anticipated summer counteroffensive.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte welcomed Washington’s decision and assured that Ukraine can rely on the unwavering support of its international partners.

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