The first F-16s are coming to Ukraine after months of training and discussions

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By Creative Media News

  • First F-16s arriving in Ukraine this summer
  • Netherlands and Denmark start transfer process
  • Zelenskiy thanks allies, expects more donations

The first F-16 fighter jets are on their way to Ukraine and will fly sorties this summer, according to a statement from the Dutch and Danish governments given by the White House at the NATO meeting.

Dick Schoof, the Dutch prime minister, and Mette Frederiksen, his Danish counterpart, said that the “transfer process” of F-16s to Kyiv had begun following months of pilot training and political talks.

The two presidents stated that “Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer” – the first of around 85 combat aircraft pledged to Kyiv to improve the country’s military fortunes.

An announcement on F-16s was planned at the same time as the meeting, with the hope that the fighters would be able to suppress Russian glide bomb strikes launched from jets operating up to 43 miles (70 kilometers) distant, which have devastated frontline positions.

It ends a long wait for Ukraine, whose president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been pressing for at least 18 months for Western jets to supplement its small and aging Soviet-style air force, which is no match for Russia.

Zelenskiy expressed gratitude to Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States for providing practical support and expressed hope for additional donations to bring the total to 130.

“F-16s will also be employed to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses. I am confident that they will help us better protect Ukrainians from brutal Russian attacks like this week’s strike on the Okhmatdyt children’s hospital in Kyiv,” the president stated.

Norway and Belgium have also agreed to provide F-16s in the future. Still, Zelenskiy said, “I anticipate that our air force capability coalition will be strengthened even further through the joining of new participants.”

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It is unknown how effective the F-16s, a combat plane developed in the 1970s, will be in the war against Russia. Given Ukraine’s extended air defenses, it will be particularly essential to how they are disguised and safeguarded on the ground.

This month, Russia claimed to have destroyed five Ukrainian Su-27 jets in an Iskander missile attack on an airbase in Myrhorod. Ukraine acknowledged some casualties in response to accusations that the planes were lined up on the tarmac in broad daylight, within range of Russian missiles.

On Tuesday night, US President Joe Biden revealed that NATO allies would contribute four Patriot anti-missile batteries. At the same time, Italy would provide a comparable Samp-t, which could be used to protect air bases from Russian strikes.

Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, confirmed the development: “As we speak, the transfer of F-16 jets is underway, coming from Denmark and the Netherlands.” He added that it should “concentrate Vladimir Putin’s mind on the fact that he will not outlast Ukraine.

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