Kyiv has not asked for troops, says Foreign Minister Kuleba, who insists that ‘give us weapons, we ourselves know how to fight’
Ukraine’s foreign minister said on Thursday that foreign countries will not send troops to the war-torn country until the conflict with Russia is over, adding that Kyiv has not made such a request.
“Until the end of the armed conflict in the territory of Ukraine, foreign countries will not deploy their troops in the territory of our state. Moreover, we do not ask for this – we say: give us weapons, we ourselves know how to fight,” Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Ukrainian TV channel 1+1.
While Kyiv’s membership in NATO will not end the Russia-Ukraine war, it will help to prevent future conflicts from arising, Kuleba argued. If the country is admitted to the bloc, he believes that Ukrainian brigades will be stationed in other NATO member states and will play a role in security.
Earlier, former NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen told Britain’s The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday that certain NATO member states may consider sending troops to Ukraine if the alliance does not provide significant security guarantees to Kyiv, particularly at its next month’s summit in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.
Ukraine officially submitted its application for fast-track NATO membership last September, following Russia’s annexation of its four regions. However, NATO allies appear divided on the matter, with some saying that adding a new member in the middle of the war is not a priority.
West support for providing F-16 ‘getting stronger’
Kuleba said Western countries’ support for providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets is “growing stronger.”
“This coalition, it is, let’s say, getting stronger. As the classic said, ‘the percentage of fats in butter is growing daily.’ I said and I will say it again: everything will be (fine). There will be F-16. We just need to solve the technical issues. Everything will be fine, we will win,” he asserted.
The “political undertaking” with regards to the provision of fighter jets assumed the start of pilot training on American-made F-16 fighters from June, he said, adding that purely technical issues are currently being decided.
“Now the military is working to organize all this… this is not an easy process,” he said.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that Ukraine will begin infrastructure preparations for F-16 fighter jets after some Western countries said during a summit in Moldova that they are ready to provide the aircraft.
Western nations have continued to provide military and financial aid to Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24, last year, but have so far been reluctant to send fighter jets to Kyiv.
However, Denmark and the Netherlands are playing a lead role among Western countries, training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a tweet on May 25.