Ukraine needs over 100 F-16s for parity with Russia, its leader has told a gathering in Washington

Virtually no quantity of weapons that the US and its allies supply to Kiev for its fight with Russia will be enough, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has said.

The Ukrainian leader is visiting the US this week as the heads of NATO states hold a summit in Washington DC. Zelensky called for more arms deliveries at the Ronald Reagan Institute on Tuesday, where he participated in an event alongside US Senator Mitch McConnell.

While he highlighted his determination to continue hostilities with Russia, he stressed on several occasions the disparity in military strength between the two sides in the conflict.

”It’s not enough. It’s never enough,” he said, referring to the five additional Patriot missile systems, which US President Joe Biden pledged the same day to Kiev on behalf of his nation, Germany, Romania and others.

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Ukrainian forces depleted – NYT

Asked about the fate of the 31 Abrams main battle tanks supplied by the US last year, Zelensky said the number was too low to “change the situation on the battlefield.”

He went on to say the number of F-16 fighter jets pledged by Western donors has been insufficient. Russia uses some 300 jets in the Ukraine conflict, while Kiev would only be able to field 10 to 20 F-16s anytime soon, he said.

”Even if we will have 50 it’s nothing. They have 300,” Zelensky said. Being on the defense, Ukraine would need a fleet of 128 F-16s for parity with Russia, he stated.

Zelensky urged the US to lift all restrictions on using American-provided weapons against targets deep inside Russia and to provide Kiev with better long-range strike capability. In late May, the Biden administration revised its policy restricting the use of American weapons inside what the US recognizes as Russian territory, but would not allow long-range strikes, according to media reports and statements by officials.


READ MORE: NATO makes ‘historic’ Ukraine air defense pledge

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that his country may supply weapons similar to those that Ukraine gets from the West to parties hostile to the donors elsewhere in the world in case of further escalation.

Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as part of a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which NATO members take part in virtually every aspect except by sending their own troops to the battlefield.

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