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US NatSec Advisor Sullivan: F-16s to be based in Ukraine, not abroad

According to Sullivan, the bilateral security agreement between Washington and Kyiv also reinforced this, as part of the plan to create additional combat capabilities in Ukraine.
A F-16 fighter jet. Illustrative image. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A F-16 fighter jet. Illustrative image. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
US NatSec Advisor Sullivan: F-16s to be based in Ukraine, not abroad

As noted by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the plan is to base US F-16s inside Ukraine, not abroad.

Sullivan said this during an interview with PBS. According to the US advisor, the recent bilateral security agreement that US President Joe Biden and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed reinforced this particular point.

”We want to help Ukraine have this capability. It should be a capability based in Ukraine,” the US advisor said.

Earlier, Serhiy Holubtsov, chief of aviation of the Ukrainian Air Force Command, said that a certain number of Western F-16 fighters, which partners are transferring to the needs of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, will be stored at safe airbases outside of Ukraine to prevent them from becoming targets for Russian attacks.

According to him, the airfields where aviation equipment is currently concentrated are attacked almost every night by dozens of drones and cruise missiles. At the same time, Holubtsov said that Ukraine already has a certain number of airfields for F-16s, and the military already knows the number of planes that will be deployed this year.

Russia scrambling to drain Ukraine before arrival of F-16s

Ukraine’s top military commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, has revealed Russia’s strategy to intensify offensives and expand combat operations aimed at exhausting Ukrainian forces before the arrival of F-16 fighter jets.

According to Syrskyi, Russian forces understand that Ukraine’s air defenses will be significantly strengthened with the addition of F-16s, reducing Russia’s chances of success.

The first F-16s will arrive in Ukraine this summer, given by the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Denmark.

However, Ukraine recently criticized the US, saying that it is “deliberately delaying” training for Ukrainian pilots on the F-16, which is why it will not have enough pilots trained by the end of the year. Washington told Kyiv that other countries were ahead of Ukrainian pilots in the queue for training places and that it could not violate its obligations to them.

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