The Fighter Jets For Ukraine Saga Continues

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Ukrainian President Zelensky during a joint press conference in the Ukrainian capital on 02/21/23.

On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni was asked to comment on a news report that suggested Italy was prepared to send five of their aging AMX ground attack fighters to Ukraine. In her response, she said, “At the moment, the supply of planes is not on the table.” She went on to say that the decision would have to be made “in consultation with international partners.” She later added that other countries “have the right to have their own position,”  when it comes to providing Ukraine with jets.

Meloni did however say that Italy is preparing an arms package for Ukraine. She didn’t share much information about what will be included in the package, but it is known that it will include some air defense systems. On Tuesday, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said that air defenses would be sent to Ukraine “within weeks.” Italy and France will likely send the Aster 30 SAMP/T (sol-air moyenne portée terrestre or surface-to-air medium-range technology, also known as MAMBA) which was jointly developed by the two EU nations. This was announced by Reuters on February 3 when they reported that France and Italy had “finalized technical talks for the joint delivery” of the air defense system.