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Air Force: F-16 jets can change course of war in Ukraine

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 21, 2023 4:21 PM 2 min read
Netherlands' Air Force F-16 jetfighters take part in the NATO exercise as part of the NATO Air Policing mission, in Alliance members' sovereign airspace on July 4, 2023. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)
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F-16 fighter jets can change the course of events in Russia's war against Ukraine, providing Ukrainian troops with much-needed air superiority in occupied territories, according to Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat.

"Air superiority is the key to success on the ground, we should all understand that," Ihnat said on national television on Aug. 21.

According to the military official, "8-9 Russian fighter jets are (flying) in the occupied territories at the moment, dropping guided air bombs, launching air missiles."

"They won't be able to do it with (Ukraine having) the F-16."

President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Aug. 20 that Ukraine would receive 42 U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets from the Netherlands and 19 from Denmark.

Kuleba: F-16 jets will enable Ukraine to protect grain corridor
Ukraine could use F-16 fighter jets to protect grain shipping lanes in the Black Sea, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told France 24 on July 25.

However, in order to fully replace the old aircraft fleet, Ukraine needs 128 fighter jets, Ihnat told the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

"It is clear that war can make its adjustments, but more than 100 aircraft are really needed to disperse them to different airfields so that they can respond to different challenges and strike various targets… (Russian) planes, ground targets, and rear camps in particular," said Ihnat.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed that the Netherlands and Denmark would supply Ukraine with F-16 jets when conditions for the transfer are met but didn't specify the number of aircraft to be delivered.

The conditions include successfully selecting, testing, and training Ukrainian F-16 personnel and the necessary authorizations, infrastructure, and logistics.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.
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