Finland’s PM clarifies comment on Hornet jet offer to Ukraine

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a press release that no one has promised Hornet fighters to Ukraine.

“Finland has not made any policies on the matter, but I see that we have the ability and opportunities to have this discussion,” Marin said.

Finland purchased around 60 Hornet F/A-18 jets from the U.S. in the mid-1990s. They will be replaced with U.S. F-35 jets beginning in 2025.

The debate about Marin’s comments on the fighter jet during her visit to Ukraine last week has been heated in Finland since the weekend. Marin said at a press conference there that the option of giving Ukraine Hornet F/A 18s that Finland no longer needs after 2025 could be considered.

“The issue of fighter jets is very sensitive in terms of foreign policy in discussions between countries, so the discussions should at least be held in the home country first. Now it seems that the matter has not been primed, but that the matter was taken up in Kiev,” Defense Committee Chairman Antti Hakkanen told Finnish national broadcaster Yle.

Foreign policy in Finland is led by the president in cooperation with the government. “This has raised the question of the proper marching order in the Hornet affair,” Yle noted.

President Sauli Niinisto issued earlier on Monday a comment on the debate regarding the future use of the Hornets.

In his written comments to Yle, Niinisto underlined that the needs of Finnish defense must be given priority. He said that Finland has been meeting the immediate needs of Ukraine. “What happens to the Hornets is a different issue.” ■

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