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Reports: Norway to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Reports: Norway to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine
Norway are reportedly set to donate some of its F-16 jets to Ukraine. File Photo: A file photo of a Danish F-16 jet. Photo by Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP) / Denmark OUT

Norway will become the third country to donate F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv to bolster its Soviet-era air force, three Norwegian publications reported Thursday, without citing any sources.

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 Neither the number of planes nor the delivery date were announced, as Ukraine pursues a grinding counteroffensive against Russian forces in the east.

Contacted by AFP, a spokeswoman for Norway's defence minister could "neither confirm nor deny" the media reports.

The reports came as Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Thursday, which was also Ukraine's Independence Day.

During his visit, Norway announced it would supply Kyiv with Iris-T anti-air missiles, demining equipment, and a 1.5 billion kroner ($141 million) aid package for the purchase of gas and electricity this winter.

But there has been no official announcement concerning F-16s. Prime Minister Store was due to hold a press conference in Kyiv later Thursday.

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Of the 57 F-16s Norway officially has up for sale, 32 have already been sold to Romania and 12 have been sold to US group Draken International, but
have not yet been delivered.

If the reports from broadcasters NRK and TV2 and newspaper Aftenposten are confirmed, Norway would become the third country after Denmark and the
Netherlands to give F-16s to Ukraine.

Copenhagen has pledged 19 planes, while The Hague will deliver 42, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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