UPDATE. March 1, 2022: After this story was published, it became clear that European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel might have spoken prematurely at a news conference on Sunday. According to a Newsweek report Tuesday, only three EU nations — Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia — are believed to have the kind of Russian-made fighter jets Ukraine’s pilots could use without extensive retraining. All three nations have said they will not provide the aircraft to Ukraine.
Staring Russian aggression in the face, the European Union will be helping Ukraine in the form of getting its overmatched air force some fighter jets, according to new reports.
“We’re going to provide even fighting jets,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel said at a news conference Sunday, as the Washington Examiner reported. “We’re not talking about just ammunition. We are providing more important arms to go to war.”
Some EU member states have the kind of planes Ukrainian pilots have been trained to fly, Borrell said.
The news conference where Borrell made the statement is shown in the Twitter post below. It comes about the 23:40 mark.
— EUSecurityDefence (@EUSec_Defence) February 27, 2022
Borrell said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba “has been asking us that they need the kind of fighter jets that the Ukrainian army is able to operate. And we know what kind of planes, and some member states have these kind of planes.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine has reminded the world of the dignity in fighting for what is right.
“President Zelensky’s leadership and his bravery, and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, are outstanding and impressive. They are an inspiration for all of us,” she said, according to Axios.
A Wall Street Journal report said discussions over implementing the aid are ongoing.
The EU is giving fighter jets to Ukraine. The world has truly turned upside down. The European Union is becoming a great power https://t.co/MFuoPSrNm1
— Paul Massaro (@apmassaro3) February 27, 2022
The Journal report said the planes will be donated by EU members, not the EU itself.
Ukraine currently flies Soviet-built MiG and Sukhoi jets, the Journal reported.
The Journal noted that nations that were formerly part of the Soviet Union or were Soviet-bloc nations have those fighters either in use or as spares.
Some current EU members were once part of the USSR.
This EU has historically avoided military involvement. Writing in the U.K. Guardian in a piece published Sunday, Borrell explained what is different now.
“The facts are that Russia, a major nuclear power, has attacked and invaded a peaceful and democratic neighboring country, which posed no threat to it, nor provoked it. Moreover, President Putin is threatening reprisals on any other state that may come to the rescue of the people of Ukraine. Such use of force and coercion has no place in the 21st century,” he wrote.
“What Putin is doing is not only a grave violation of international law, it is a violation of the basic principles of human coexistence. With his choice to bring war back to Europe, we see the return of the ‘law of the jungle’ where might makes right. The target is not only Ukraine, but the security of Europe and the whole international rules-based order, based on the UN system and international law,” he wrote.
Borrell wrote that Putin fooled the West in the days leading up to the invasion.\
“Putin lied to the faces of all who met him, pretending to be interested in a peaceful solution. Instead, he opted for a full-scale invasion, a fully-fledged war,” he wrote. “We stand together on the right side of history in the face of Russia’s horrifying attack on a free and sovereign country.”
“With this war on Ukraine, the world will never be the same again. It is now, more than ever, the time for societies and alliances to come together to build our future on trust, justice and freedom. It is the moment to stand up and to speak out. Might does not make right. Never did. Never will,” he wrote.
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