Confirming earlier media reports, Store on Thursday said Oslo would certainly send the American single-engine supersonic warplanes but the details of the donation would be announced later.
"We are planning to donate Norwegian F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and will provide further details about the donation, numbers and time frame for delivery, in due course," he said in a statement.
The announcement came as the Norwegian premier made a surprise visit to Kiev on Thursday - Independence Day in Ukraine.
The ex-Soviet republic views the F-16 warplanes as vital to the success of efforts to drive Russian troops from Ukraine's territory in a grinding counteroffensive that has proceeded slowly since its launch in early June.
Norway has officially 57 F-16 jets up for sale, of which, 32 have already been sold to Romania, and up to 12 have been purchased by the US group Draken International, but have not yet been delivered.
Norwegian news agency NTB said in a report that the latter transaction has been canceled.
Late at the weekend, Denmark and the Netherlands announced that they would provide Ukraine with a number of F-16 fighter jets. Six of the promised jets will initially be delivered around New Year.
The announcement by Copenhagen and The Hague came a few days after the United States approved the delivery of the multirole fighter aircraft to Kiev.
Furthermore, Oslo said on Thursday that it would provide Kiev 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.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke at an official ceremony in central Kiev on the occasion of his country's Independence Day.
Besides Store, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa, and Bosnia and Herzegovina's President Zeljko Komsic showed their support.
According to Zelensky, who strived for months to secure F-16 fighter jets, Denmark has pledged to donate 19 planes while the Netherlands would deliver 42.
Since Russia began military operations in early 2022 against Ukraine for its move to align with NATO, the United States has provided Kiev with more than $47 billion in military aid.
This military aid from the US includes “the most powerful and pricey” weapons and vehicles in the US inventory, including M1 Abrams battle tanks, Patriot missile defense systems, and HIMARS rocket launchers.
The aid is unlike the supplies in the early months of the Russia-Ukraine war when escalation fears had limited the type of equipment being provided.
According to a report by the Messenger News, "the unfortunate fact for the Ukrainians and their foreign backers is that many of these systems have already been destroyed”.
The heavy loss rate of foreign military equipment has forced the Ukrainians to modify their tactics, but it could only “strain” the West's ability to continue with arms supplies for Ukraine’s war efforts, observers say.
Ukraine is said to have lost nearly $10 billion worth of US-supplied weapons in its counteroffensive against Russia. This rough estimate is based on the New York Times assessment in July that about 20 percent of the West-supplied weaponry was damaged or destroyed by Russia in the first two weeks of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Source: Press TV#Ukraine #Norway 23-08-25
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