Kyiv expects a “powerful” number of F-16 fighters from some Western countries, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on June 6 during a press conference broadcast by the Public TV and radio company. At the same time, as the head of state noted, there is currently no infrastructure for them on Ukrainian territory.
“It (infrastructure. – Ed.) will be built and prepared. There is no point in preparing it until there is an agreement that we will have the appropriate aircraft. For today, our last very important meeting is in Moldova, where I had one closed meeting with a number of countries that confirmed for sure that they would definitely give us the F-16,” the President of Ukraine stressed.
He reported on receiving from a number of European partners “an understanding regarding the quantity. Zelensky called this number “powerful.”
A day earlier, Alexander Perendzhiev, a military political scientist and assistant professor of political analysis at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, said that Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov could be lying when he said that Kiev was not going to use F-16 fighter jets for a summer counteroffensive. He will change his position when the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) receive these aircraft.
Reznikov said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not receive F-16 fighters, trained engineers and pilots until autumn, so they will not be able to use them during the counteroffensive.
On May 28, he announced the completion of the selection of pilots for training on the F-16. At the same time, Reznikov did not comment on the possible number of delivered fighters and the timing of their transfer.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry noted two days earlier that Ukrainian troops needed four squadrons of 12 F-16 aircraft, that is, a total of 48 fighters.
The F-16 is an American-made fighter aircraft that is in service with many states. Ukraine has been trying to get this aircraft since the beginning of spring, when discussions began on preparing a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kyiv especially actively began to seek supplies after Russian aviation increased activity in the airspace.
Western countries have stepped up military and financial support for Ukraine against the background of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbass, which the Russian authorities announced on February 24, 2022 amid the aggravation of the situation in the region due to shelling by the Ukrainian military.
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