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Ukraine to get F-16 jets by mid-summer, says FM Kuleba

Officials had previously cited spring or early summer for Ukraine’s delivery of F-16 jets.
Two Portuguese F-16AM-15MLU and a Canadian CF-18 Hornet protecting the Baltic States.
Ukraine to get F-16 jets by mid-summer, says FM Kuleba

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that Ukraine is set to receive Western F-16 fighter jets in line with previously established plans and schedules. Kuleba announced this during an online briefing for global media outlets, as reported by Interfax-Ukraine.

Kyiv has repeatedly stated that the presence of Western fighter jets in Ukraine could change the situation on the battlefield, as Russia currently has air superiority over the occupied territories.

“Initially, it was planned that F-16s would appear in Ukraine’s airspace by mid-summer. Today, everything is going according to plan. However, this is certainly a very complex and intricate issue, so you never know how things might change. But for now, that’s the schedule,” Kuleba said.

The minister noted that, according to his information, the training of “pilots is going well.”

Kuleba also emphasized the efforts of partners who are assisting in the training of Ukrainian pilots and engineers.

“Of course, more training will be needed, not just for pilots but also for engineers and technical personnel, as the transition from Soviet-type aircraft to Western-type aircraft requires serious changes in everything – education, logistics, and air combat philosophy,” the Foreign Minister added.

Denmark and the Netherlands were the first countries to promise to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine back in 2023, but tied this to the completion of training for Ukrainian pilots. Since then, several Western countries have been training Ukrainian pilots.

Following the Ramstein meeting on 14 February 2024, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov stated that “everything is going according to schedule within the framework of all agreements with partners.” F-16s are expected in spring, with the head of Ukraine’s mission to NATO calling their receipt by then realistic. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also stated that the fighter jets could be delivered “on schedule,” adding that there would be no less than 24 aircraft.

Earlier, the Danish Ministry of Defense reported that the country would transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine this summer. The ministry noted that it is difficult to set a precise schedule for the transfer of F-16 fighter jets because “there are several conditions that must be met for Ukraine to be able to use the provided aircraft.”

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