The Czech Republic could give Ukraine some of its Air Force L-159 jets to help Kiev in its long-awaited counter-offensive, the country’s president, Petr Pavel, said on Wednesday.

Prague has been among Kiev’s staunchest supporters since Russian troops began invading Ukrainian territory in February 2022: it has donated billions of euros worth of military equipment – ​​from light weapons and ammunition to self-propelled guns and tanks.

The L-159 is a Czech-made light subsonic aircraft, designed for missions of close support of ground forces, reconnaissance and – under conditions – even for air combat.

“It is worth considering whether and to what extent we could supply Ukraine with [κάποια από] the L-159 aircraft that we have,” said Mr. Pavel, a retired general, during an interview with a Czech radio station.

“As they are capable of performing a close support aircraft role, they could greatly assist Ukraine in counter-attacking [της]”, he added.

The decision rests with the government.

Ukraine is in the process of receiving two Kub air defense systems from the Czech Republic, President Pavel added in the same interview.

Kiev, which says its forces are waiting for weather conditions to improve before launching a counter-attack, is demanding that its Western allies overcome their reluctance and provide it with modern Western fighter jets.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last week and reiterated a few days ago that the donation of F-16 fighters to Ukraine is being considered, but no final decision has been made yet. This would require the approval of the USA, the country where they are manufactured.

Slovakia and Poland in March sent a few dozen of their Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighters, but not all are operational.