Kaikkonen: Ukraine requested Hornet help – “We need Hornets for our own use in the next few years”
Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen (center) said that Finland will hand over three more Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Kaikkonen also commented on the Hornet discussion. The live broadcast has ended. IL-TVelli.firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.comToday at 13:38 (edited at 15:05)
Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen (centre) said that Finland is decided to hand over three more Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Finland has already handed over three wagons earlier this spring.
The tanks are part of Finland's new arms aid package for Ukraine. In addition, Finland will hand over heavy weapons and ammunition.
The value of the package is approximately 161 million euros. The total value of the packages handed over by Finland is now close to one billion euros.
Kaikkonen confirmed that Ukraine has approached and requested a discussion about Finland's Hornet fleet. The request came at the official level.
According to Kaikkonen, the inquiry will be answered in the next few weeks. However, Kaikkonen has a negative attitude to handing over the Hornets.
– We will need the Hornets for our own use in the next few years, says Kaikkonen.
Furthermore, Kaikkonen said that at the end of the decade, the Finnish Hornets' use value will begin to be low.
Marinin Ukraine visit in the background
Ukraine made the request after Prime Minister Sanna Marini(sd) visited Ukraine on March 10. According to information from Iltalehti, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi brought up the fighter jet issue and thus the request for consultation in the negotiations in Kiev.
Marin said during his visit that he thought there could be a discussion in Finland about handing over fighter jets to Ukraine. This sparked a lively discussion because, for example, President Sauli Niinistö or Defense Minister Kaikkonen were not aware of this.
Kaikkosen was asked at Thursday's event if Ukraine made the Hornet request precisely because of Marin's visit, or if the same inquiry was also sent to other countries. Kaikkonen said that he has no information whether similar requests have been sent to other countries, and he cannot say for sure whether the request is related to the visit to Kiev.
Finland will receive new F-35 fighter jets from from 2026 onwards. So there is a discussion about whether the Hornet fighters, which are at the end of their service life, could be handed over to Ukraine, because Finland is getting replacement F-35 fighters instead.
Kaikkonen also said at Thursday's event that the defense forces carry out surveillance flights in Finnish airspace. The first flight with the USA is today.
Kaikkonen also said that Finland has recently increased the production of ammunition.
Antti Kaikkonen talks today about the new arms aid package for Ukraine. Stock photo. JANI KORPELA