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Kuleba: F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine would deter Russia, not provoke it

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 28, 2023 12:53 AM 2 min read
An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft extended its landing gear to land at the U.S. military airfield at Spangdahlem. (Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets will deter Russia rather than provoke it, Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on April 27.

To back up his point, Kuleba went on to list the weapons already provided to Ukraine that some critics thought would escalate Russia's all-out war, including artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, air defense, tanks, and long-range missiles.

"F-16s will not (escalate the war) either. Giving Ukraine F-16s will deter Russia rather than 'provoke' it. Time to take this step," Kuleba added.

Ukraine has been requesting fighters for months to defend its skies and maximize the effectiveness of its combined arms forces during a future counteroffensive.

Of all the available models, Ukraine has shown the most interest in the U.S.-built F-16, in service since the 1970s and operated by over 20 nations.

However, multiple Western allies, including the U.S. and Germany, have ruled out sending fighter jets in the near term, while debates about their provision are ongoing.

Critics argue that allies' reluctance to supply F-16, Typhoon and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

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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