According to Norwegian media on Thursday, NATO member Norway would supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, whose forces are waging a challenging counteroffensive against Russia.
The reports surfaced while Jonas Gahr Stre, the prime minister of Norway, was in Kiev. The idea, which was revealed by Norwegian media outlets NRK und TV2, was not officially confirmed.
After the Netherlands and Denmark, Norway would be the third European Nation to send F-16 aircraft.
Ukraine has appealed for the advanced fighter jets to give it a competitive advantage for a long time. Without air support, it recently started a long-awaited counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s forces, leaving its soldiers vulnerable to Russian aviation and artillery.
As part of a five-year support package, oil-rich Norway said in February that it would provide Kyiv 75 billion kroner ($7 billion), making it one of the largest international contributors to Ukraine. A total of 15 billion kroner ($1,4 billion) will be allocated over five years, equally divided between military and humanitarian aid.
The donation of anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine was announced by Norway on Thursday. According to the country, „air defense is critical to Ukraine’s ability to protect both the civilian population and front-line infrastructure and military units against any type of Russian air attack.”
According to a statement from Gahr Stre, „this is one of the largest Norwegian donations of military equipment to Ukraine to date.” The Norwegian government has long stated that supplying F-16s to Ukraine is an Option.
Norway received the first of the 52 F-35s it ordered in January. The F-16 fleet of Norway will be replaced by the new fighter aircraft. The Netherlands and Denmark revealed last week that they will donate F-16 planes. The Netherlands hasn’t said, how many planes it will supply, but Denmark has announced, it will provide 19.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, visited several European Nations earlier this week, skipping Norway but visiting the Netherlands and Denmark.