Ukraine gives up hope: No F-16 protection against Putin this year

In the coming months, Ukraine will not be able to protect its airspace with US F-16 fighter jets. This was confirmed by Yurii Ihnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, on August 16. “For this fall and winter, it is clear that F-16 defense will not be possible,” Ihnat said.

In July, during the NATO summit in Vilnius, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced the creation of a coalition of 11 NATO countries. The aim of this coalition is to train Ukrainian pilots to use the F-16. The program was originally scheduled to start in Denmark in August, and the construction of a training center in Romania is also planned, as reported by The Kyiv Independent.

However, uncertainties surround F-16 training and delivery of the jets. Although the Biden administration has promised training, it is still waiting for a concrete training plan from European partners. It also remains unclear which NATO countries will ultimately provide the F-16 jets. According to The Kyiv Independent, Ukrainian pilots also face the challenge of being fluent in English. Despite the uncertainties, Ihnat stressed the importance of the F-16s: they could go a long way in protecting the country from Russian missile and drone attacks. In conclusion, Ihnat commented positively on the progress of pilot training and expects training in the coalition states to take place soon.

Hank Peter

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