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Time will play in Ukraine's favor once F-16s and more Western aid arrive, Syrskyi says

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 17, 2024 2:10 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi photographed during an interview on June 30, 2022, in eastern Ukraine. (Anastasia Vlasova for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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With the gradual arrival of foreign military aid, including the first batch of F-16 fighter jets, time will favor Ukraine, while Russia's chances of success on the battlefield will decrease, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on June 17.

Ukraine is expected to receive the first F-16 jets in the summer, while the U.S. Congress's approval in April unblocked the flow of the much-needed American military assistance.

Knowing that Ukraine will receive more Western equipment to strengthen its air defense capabilities, the Russian military command is now "making every effort to increase the intensity and expand the fighting geographically," according to Syrskyi.

Russian troops are pushing on the Kurakhove, Pokrovsk, Kupiansk, and Vremivka sectors in the east, trying to break through Ukraine's defenses and capture key areas or settlements crucial for the Ukrainian military's defense, the general said.

These efforts aim to "maximize the exhaustion of our troops, disrupt the training of reserves, and prevent the transition to active offensive actions," Syrskyi said.

Russia continues to focus on the Pokrovsk sector, concentrating most of its brigades and regiments there, he added.

Heavy fighting continues near Hlyboke, Chasiv Yar, and Staromaiorske in Donetsk Oblast, Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the village of Krynky in Kherson Oblast, and in the islands in the coastal area of the left bank of the Dnipro River, Syrskyi said.

Ukraine's military reported on a number of attacks on occupied Crimea in recent days. This may help degrade Russian air defenses in the area before the arrival of the F-16s and decrease the threat to Ukrainian tactical aviation, said Federico Borsari, a Leonardo Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), in a comment for the Kyiv Independent on June 12.

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