Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is urging the EU to supply Western fighter jets to defend against the Russian aggressor. “We need modern aircraft,” said Zelenskyj at an EU summit, to which he was connected via video. At the same time, he thanked Poland and Slovakia for the decision to provide Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets. “This will significantly strengthen the defense of our airspace.”

At the summit itself, however, possible fighter jet deliveries did not play a major role. The topic was not discussed in detail, said Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer. EU Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen only emphasized that the decision on the delivery of such fighter jets must be made by the individual member states. Michel added that Ukraine needs “more support and more military equipment”.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz has already made his position clear several times: For him, the delivery of modern Western fighter jets is currently not an issue. “The debate makes no sense,” he said in February. Several other countries have been open to it.

On Thursday, Slovakia announced that it had handed over the first 4 of its 13 promised fighter jets to Ukraine. However, these are not modern jets of western design, but those of the Soviet type MiG-29. Earlier, Poland had announced the delivery of fighter jets of the same type. Western fighter jets include the European Eurofighter and the American F-16.

Selenskyj complains about delays in arms deliveries

Addressing Chancellor Scholz and his colleagues, Zelenskyy asked whether there was a rationale behind the delay in providing modern aircraft. He referred to the Russian threats ahead of the delivery of the German Leopard main battle tank from the EU. “And what did Russia do then? We all have to get used to the fact that a terrorist state bluffs more often than it can escalate,” Zelenskyy said, according to the government in Kiev.

In their final declaration, Scholz and his colleagues promised further political, economic, military, financial and humanitarian aid for Ukraine – for as long as it is necessary. If Ukraine asks for it, more missiles will also be delivered. In his speech, however, Selenskyj complained about the lack of speed on the European side.

“Time is important. Not only months and weeks, but also days are important. The faster we act together, the more lives we can save.” For example, the President called for more speed in further sanctions against Russia and further efforts against circumventing punitive measures that have already been imposed. He also complained about delays in the delivery of longer-range missiles.

Selenskyj wants a peace plan summit in the European capital

At the same time, Zelenskyy proposed a summit meeting on his peace plan in a European capital. “Wouldn’t that add to Europe’s global strength? I’m sure it would.” Zelenskyi presented a ten-point plan with conditions for peace with Russia at the G20 summit in November. These include a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory and reparations payments. In December, Zelenskyj proposed a summit meeting on this, and now he has put this idea in concrete terms.

The federal government’s blockade in the dispute over cars with combustion engines also played a role at the summit. Scholz defended the German approach against criticism from European partners. Commission chief von der Leyen was confident that a good solution would soon be found.

At the end of the two-day top meeting, a euro summit is scheduled for this Friday, to which the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, and Eurogroup boss Paschal Donohoe are also expected. Among other things, it is likely to be about the emergency takeover of the major Swiss bank Credit Suisse by its competitor UBS and the difficulties of some smaller US institutions. In addition, inflation and financial policy against the background of the war in Ukraine and the associated high energy prices are topics.

A meeting between Chancellor Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron is also planned on the sidelines of the summit. It could again be a question of the extent to which modern nuclear energy projects should be funded by the EU. France is urging the EU to make it clear once and for all that nuclear energy plays a role in reducing CO2 emissions and must not be discriminated against. The German government, on the other hand, takes the position that nuclear energy should not be subsidized by the EU. In particular, Germany is opposed to using nuclear energy to achieve targets for the expansion of renewable energies.