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F-16s will challenge Russia's aerial dominance over Black Sea, Ukraine's Navy chief says

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 5, 2024 3:16 PM 2 min read
Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Vice Admiral Oleksii Neizhpapa, speaks during a press conference for the launch of the Maritime Capability Coalition for Ukraine at Admiralty House central London, Dec. 11, 2023. (Lucy North/PA Images via Getty Images)
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The upcoming delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will challenge Russia's "full dominance" of the skies over the Black Sea, Navy Commander Oleksii Neizhpapa told Reuters in an interview published on July 5.

Ukraine is expected to receive the first F-16 jets this summer, a year after Denmark and the Netherlands founded the "fighter jet coalition" with nine other countries at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023.

"F-16s with the right armaments will be able to push away Russian warplanes. The northwestern part of the Black Sea, particularly the corridor for civilian ships, will be almost 100% secure," Neizhpapa said in the interview.

Due to the naval drone attacks, Russian warships do not enter the northwestern part of the Black Sea, an area of almost 25,000 square meters, Neizhpapa said.

Ukraine wants to expand its shipping corridor, which facilities the only maritime traffic from the three main Odesa ports, to include the ports of Mykolaiv and Kherson in the country's south, the vice admiral said.

This is currently impossible since Russia controls the Kinburn Spit, he added.

The Kinburn Spit is located at the mouth of the Dnipro River south of Kherson. It is one of the last parts of Mykolaiv Oblast that remains under Russian occupation.

Kyiv was forced to set up a new export route in the Black Sea last year after Russia unilaterally terminated the Black Sea grain deal. Initially envisioned as a humanitarian corridor to allow the departure of ships stranded there since the start of the full-scale war, it has since grown into a full-blown trade route.

Who needs warships when you’ve got drones? Russia loses control over Black Sea
The view from the camera skims over the water, low and predatory. Dodging left and right between rows of white splashes, it sidles up to the aft of the looming gray hull. A shape appears to scramble across the deck of the Russian corvette before the feed cuts off. The

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