After reaching final agreements with partner countries on the transfer of F-16 combat aircraft to Ukraine, our state will begin preparing the appropriate infrastructure for them, and this process will take some time. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a conversation with media representatives on the occasion of Journalist's Day.
As the Head of State noted, during his recent visit to Moldova to participate in the Summit of the European Political Community, he had a very important meeting with the leaders of the countries who confirmed their readiness to provide Ukraine with F-16 aircraft. Now we still need a joint agreement with the United States.
"Our partners know how many aircraft we need. I have already received an understanding of the number from some of our European partners, and it is powerful. I am very happy with the information I received from some countries. I just had a day of happiness. It was a serious, powerful offer," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President stands for the coalition of fighter jets to be formalized in a separate agreement. This can take place at the next meeting of the group on Ukraine's defense in the Ramstein format or within another platform.
"And then the preparation of the entire infrastructure will begin. This is not fast. There is an understanding of what to do. Commander (of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine - ed.) Mykola Oleshchuk understands where to do, what to do, and in what quantity," the Head of State said.
Answering the question about the importance of the long-term defense of the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that about 20,000 Wagner troops were killed in this area of the frontline, and about 60,000 more were wounded.
According to the President, Ukrainian defenders in this area received all the best weapons that Ukraine had.
"I think it was the most powerful defense that could have been planned. Because everyone realized that Bakhmut would be held by a large number of military. For me, the people who were in Bakhmut are superhumans. And everything we received, all the deficits, shells and so on, all this was given there: Storm Shadow, 155-caliber artillery, Excaliburs, CAESAR, HIMARS," the Head of State emphasized.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it is impossible to "fortify" buildings in the city when 50,000 122-caliber and 152-caliber shells hit it every day.
"What can be done with a building that is constantly being hit by artillery? We need to get people out of such a building in order not to lose them. The entrances to the city are being fortified. Bakhmut was not prepared for a full-scale war. It's just one town. But such forces met there, and it was clear that it would take on the function of a magnet," the President explained.
Answering the question about the future of those Ukrainian defenders who, as a result of their injuries, can no longer be at the front, he noted that such warriors should receive jobs in the rear, in headquarters, etc., and have the opportunity to continue their service.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that during his communication with the wounded soldiers, he had repeatedly heard them express a desire to return to service and have a job.
"Their job is to serve the state. If he cannot shoot now, he should have another job," the President is convinced.
The Head of State noted that he had already discussed with the military command the issue of defenders who undergo long-term treatment after being wounded, are withdrawn and receive low salaries.
"Commanders have vacancies, there are vacancies in the army. We need to bring these people back, find them a place, a job. Of course, a person, our hero, who has no limb, lost it for the sake of the state... The state should give them a suitable job that these persons can do. This person will earn appropriate money. I think this is important," Volodymyr Zelenskyy summarized.