Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine needs “game-changer” weapons, including F-16 fighters, to retaliate against Russian troops and put pressure on “tired” Vladimir Putin.
In an exclusive interview from Kyiv, Poroshenko urged Ukraine’s Western supporters to help end the war before 2023 begins and ignore threats from the Kremlin escalating.
“I think we definitely need to end the war before the end of the year,” Poroshenko said Newsweek.
“So we don’t have a year to supply the F-16 and two years to supply the Patriots. We must talk about days. Because a year, or a year, can completely change the whole situation in Europe.” It is absolutely dangerous the whole world.”
Poroshenko led Ukraine from 2014 to 2019, bringing President Volodymyr Zelensky to power before going undefeated in the populist fray. He is second to Zelensky in the 2024 presidential election.
Poroshenko is charged with treason which he describes as politically motivated. former president told newsweek He and Zelensky agreed to an informal truce when Russia invaded in February.
Military aid from the European Union and NATO countries has been crucial to Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression. The Ukrainian military is now preparing a counter-attack in the south around Kherson with the help of modern long-range artillery systems from the US and its NATO allies.
But Ukraine still faces daily missile attacks. Officials in Kyiv are demanding from the West to provide sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and modern fighter jets to close the skies to Russian missiles and aircraft.
“The game changers won’t just be Leopard tanks or M777 artillery,” Poroshenko said. “A game changer will be the F-16, because we can stop Russian dominance in the airspace.”
“Anti-aircraft missiles could have the same effect as MLRSs and F-16s,” he said, referring to American, British and German long-range rocket systems that are crippling Russian logistics and security in the south and east . “We need it right now, because we have a very narrow window of opportunity.”
White House spokesman John Kirby said last week that while the US is discussing providing Ukraine with modern fighter aircraft, “it is not something that will be executed in the near term.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has already passed the Ukrainian Fighter Pilots Act, which aims to train Ukrainian fliers on modern American platforms, including the F-16.
“Although we don’t have F-16s, we must certainly start special programs for the preparation and training of Ukrainian pilots in NATO airports,” Poroshenko said.
Western military aid has been accelerating since the beginning of this year. In the days after Putin launched Russia’s second invasion of Ukraine in a decade, Western nations were hesitant to provide more than shoulder-launched anti-air and anti-tank weapons.
But the Defenders now have advanced systems such as US-made HIMARS, long-range howitzers, tanks and anti-aircraft batteries. An earlier push to provide fighter jets failed.
Asked whether it was a matter of time before Ukraine received the F-16, Poroshenko replied: “If you are not optimistic, if you do not believe in the true victory of your country, then you are not Commander-in-Chief. May be. Armed forces.”
“Imagine that the more weapons we have, the shorter the distance to peace,” he said.
Offensive offensives have conquered the Russians’ new territory in the eastern Donbass region but at great cost. Ukraine claims that more than 40,000 enemy soldiers have now been killed, as well as thousands of aircraft, vehicles and artillery pieces destroyed.
Analysts said earlier this month that Moscow was taking an operational pause to regroup and strengthen its damaged units, although small-scale Russian attacks in the east continued. At home, the Kremlin is creating volunteer battalions and other new units, although has so far refrained from ordering a general mobilization.
“Putin is tired,” said Poroshenko. “And Putin wants to buy time to renew the capacity of Russian troops for further attacks. It will not be possible for Ukraine to accept this situation. We need to free our country from Russian troops.”
newsweek The Russian Foreign Ministry has been contacted to request comment.
Moscow continues to take advantage of food and energy exports to ease international sanctions. With winter approaching and the cost of living crisis looming, the Kremlin is hoping rising prices of vital goods will force European adversaries into concessions.
Poroshenko dismissed any concerns of so-called “strain fatigue” among Kyiv’s Western partners.
“Ukrainians are not fatigued or sanctions fatigued. On the contrary, the actions of Western leaders are becoming more and more decisive,” Poroshenko said, suggesting that Western leaders are being driven entirely by pro-Ukrainian voters. Is.
“I certainly know one person in the world who is definitely demonstrating sanctions fatigue: Vladimir Putin,” the former president said. “It is Putin who is so tired of Western sanctions.”