Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the top US General in Europe, has told US lawmakers at a closed-door meeting at the Munich Security Conference on 18 February that F-16 fighter jets would help Ukraine win the war, Politico reports, citing five people present at the meeting.
Speaking during a discussion over what Kyiv needs to go on the offensive, Cavoli said that apart from F-16s, Ukraine needs drones and longer-range missiles such as ATACMS to allow its forces to strike Russian positions farther away, putting headquarters and rear supply lines at risk and disabling its war machine inside Ukraine.
This tactic was used by the Ukrainian army to prepare the ground for a counteroffensive on Kherson Oblast with HIMARS MLRS. Still, afterward, the Russians adapted to the tactics, which is why Ukraine searchers for longer-range capabilities, such as those provided by the ATACMS missile that can be used with the HIMARS launcher.
After unblocking the decision to send western battle tanks and armored vehicles, Ukraine has viewed the provision of fighter jets to Ukraine as its next big goal for repelling Russian aggression.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba has said that the only barriers to Ukraine receiving jets are “psychological” ones. At the Munich Security Conference, he called on allies to start training Ukrainian pilots without announcing any additional obligations.
However, the provision of jets remains a controversial issue, as reports suggest that US officials have prioritized the supply of air defense and ammunition, and the UK said it will not send jets to Ukraine any time soon.