Western countries can transfer F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv, as most countries are currently switching to more modern F-35 models. This opinion on Friday, July 21, was expressed by the former head of the F-35 program of Lockheed Martin Corporation (Lockheed Martin) Tom Burbage in an interview with Newsweek magazine.
According to the expert, earlier many countries did not dare to purchase the F-35, but they changed their minds on this issue after the start of the Ukrainian conflict.
He added that F-16 fighter jets previously used by Western countries “are being released for countries like Ukraine”, stressing that the transition to new aircraft models could take years.Off-airway: US will continue consultations on the supply of F-16s to Kiev Russia called the West’s plans to send fighter jets to Ukraine a move towards escalation
The day before, John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the US National Security Council, said that deliveries of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine could begin towards the end of this year, but they are unlikely to change the course of the conflict. According to him, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) need artillery most of all.
Russian Ambassador to the Netherlands Alexander Shulgin said on July 19 that the Netherlands has so far closed the issue of possible deliveries of F-16 fighters to Ukraine, as the EU is beginning to understand the potential consequences of such a move, which would likely turn into a direct clash between Russia and NATO.
On July 14, the Politico newspaper reported that European countries have not begun training F-16 pilots for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as the US is delaying official permission. However, the newspaper clarified that there are no grounds to expect Washington to refuse to train Ukrainian pilots.
Douglas Sims, Director of Operations at the Joint Staff of the Pentagon, said on July 13 that now is not the time to provide F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. According to him, this decision is connected with the great potential of Russia in the field of air defense.
On the same day, Viktor Vodolatsky, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, agreed with the opinion of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, noting that the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Kiev would lead to an escalation of the Ukrainian conflict.
At the same time, Lavrov noted that the United States and NATO satellites, by transferring F-16 fighters to Ukraine, create a threat of the use of nuclear weapons.
On July 16, Assistant to the President of the United States for National Security Jake Sullivan said that the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets in the EU countries could begin in two weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 1 accused the allies of failing to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv. He pointed to the existence of a coalition of countries that are ready to start training Ukrainian pilots, but no schedule of missions has been drawn up. In his opinion, some partners are delaying this issue.
On June 27, Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that Kyiv hopes to receive the first F-16s by the end of 2023. According to him, almost all countries of the aviation coalition are ready to supply fighter jets to Kyiv.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on June 16 that the Netherlands, along with Denmark, will begin training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighters in the summer. These countries are leading an international coalition to train pilots and support personnel.
The day before, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, noted that it is too early to discuss the specific timing of the delivery of the F-16 to Ukraine.
Western countries have stepped up their military and financial support to Ukraine against the backdrop of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbass, which was announced by the Russian authorities on February 24, 2022 amid the aggravation of the situation in the region due to Ukrainian shelling.Share: