Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said his country did not have a red line when it came to providing fighter jets to Ukraine, but cautioned his country did not have the means to relinquish any of its own aircraft.
“It’s not a red line,” Costa told journalists as he arrived in Brussels for a special European Council meeting on Thursday.
Portugal operates a total of 27 F-16 AM fighter jets but Costa says they are already tied to several NATO commitments.
“That’s an area where we simply don’t have the possibility [of giving to Ukraine], given that the means we have are all allocated to missions that we cannot do without," he said.
Costa went on to say Portugal had done its best to support Ukraine since the beginning of the war, highlighting the recent commitment to send three of its Leopard 2 tanks.
He added that supplies to Ukraine had the ultimate goal of achieving peace, but only on Ukrainian terms.
“Peace is our objective,” he said. “War is a means to achieve peace and this war, it should be reminded, was not started by Ukraine, Ukraine is the victim of war.
“The moment, the terms and conditions for peace can only be defined by Ukraine,” he added.