The attention of Ukrainian society is more than ever focused on the provision of American F-16 combat fighters to our Defense Forces. Last year, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba assured us that Ukraine's allies were already working on the issue of such supplies. This week, the Chief of Aviation of the Ukrainian Air Force Command, Serhiy Holubtsov, made a striking statement about the assessment of Ukrainian pilots' capabilities made in the United States: according to it, our defenders will be able to fly F-16s after less than six months of training.
In early February 2023, Ukraine officially filed an inquiry to the Netherlands for F-16 fighter jets, but the transfer to the Kingdom requires permission from the United States. Subsequently, the Financial Times, citing its own sources, wrote that the United States could transfer F-16s to Ukraine or at least allow the re-export of the aircraft by other countries. But on February 25, when asked whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy needed the planes right now, US President Joe Biden made it clear: "No, he doesn't need F-16s now."
However, both the Ukrainian government and ordinary Ukrainians keep insisting that Ukraine needs "wings of freedom." In particular, the united creative community of Ukraine, War Against War (WAW), has launched an informational campaign on social media to increase support for the transfer of aircraft to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. And Ukrainian and English football fans, together with the volunteer organization Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan, will organize a large-scale flash mob on Sunday, March 26, at the "England-Ukraine" football match, demanding the provision of fighter jets.
Darya Markova, marketing director of War Аgainst War, told the Kyiv Post that since February 25, 2022, people from completely different professions have joined the WAW team, but most of them are screenwriters and directors. The community has set itself the goal of countering Russian propaganda and its narratives, the metastases of which Russia is spreading around the world. WAW makes short news videos about the war in Ukraine and its global consequences and produces content in more than 18 languages, including Hindi and Mandarin. The videos focus on educational content about the war, Ukrainian history, the de-occupation of cities, and how to behave under occupation. According to Daria, launching a flash mob is a new experience for the team. Activists were inspired to take this step by the huge success of the Free the Leopards campaign.
To remind you, after the German Bundestag failed to approve the delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine on January 20, thousands of people protested to demand demand this to happen. Europeans and Ukrainians on social media joined the flash mob, and the new hashtag was widely supported. And the voice of Ukrainian society was heard, as nine countries have promised to provide us with more than 150 Leopard tanks.
"We have never launched a flash mob before. This is the first time we have done so. We saw the effect of Free the Leopards, how Ukrainians and opinion leaders of different levels united, and how it flooded the network, what effect it had. After all, we received not just a few tanks, but a whole tank coalition. The delivery of these tanks scared the Russians a lot, and the jets will scare them even more," Markova says.
In consultation with partners who organized Free the Leopards, War Аgainst War, together with the Saint Javelin campaign, launched the Paper Airplanes flash mob. "Airplanes for Ukrainians, peace for the world. It's a wing-wing decision!" the event organizers emphasize. It is very easy to support the initiative: just make a paper airplane, take a picture of it in your hands against the sky and post it on social media under the hashtags #wingwingdecision #jetsforukraine. WAW encourages people to mention foreign presidents, politicians, and international organizations in their publications. Activists assured that their flash mob will continue until the delivery of the fighter jets to Ukraine.
War Against War also talked about the large-scale flash mob organized by their colleagues at the volunteer organization Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan. This event will take place at Wembley Stadium in London, the largest sports arena in England with a capacity of up to 90,000 people, and coincide with the opening match of the European Championship 2024 on Sunday, where the Ukrainian national team will play against England.
A Ukrainian rendition of a fan song about bombers will be performed at Wembley
The Ukrainian community in Britain Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan is very active. On the anniversary of the full-scale war, they held a touching event: they came to the Russian embassy in the evening and broadcast a video on the building about why Ukraine will win the war.
Darya Markova admits that the activists of Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan started doing the action with paper airplanes even before the start of the flash mob War Against War. Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan activist Olena Ivashchenko noted that they plan to launch airplanes during the match, in the breaks between halves. However, the highlight of the flashmob will be a Ukrainian rendition of the children's song "Ten German Bombers" sung by British schoolchildren during World War II. English football fans often chant it during matches, Ivashchenko explains. The text of the Ukrainian version - "There were 10 Russian bombers in the air and the Air Force from Ukraine will shoot one down" - is now being spread by Support Ukraine/London Euromaidan activists in thematic fan groups, among people attending the match in London, and among English fans.
German bombers in the air | England fan’s chant:
"Ukrainian and British fans are supposed to sing about the downed Russian bombers before and during the match. Football journalists, players, and fans will call for Ukraine to receive F-16s through this song," stressed Olena Ivashchenko.
In addition, a banner with the inscription "There are 10 Russian bombers in the air. And the Air force from Ukraine needs F-16s to shoot them down" will be unfurled at the stadium. "We asked to add our hashtag wing-wing decision to the banner to keep the concept consistent. We have a common goal, and it doesn't matter who came up with the idea first. The main thing is that everyone around the world is uniting and thinking about how to speed up the supply of these weapons to us," Daria Markova noted.
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