Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence, believes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will have F-16s for use at the front in the spring of 2024.
Source: Reznikov in an interview with Ukrinform
Quote: "I think next year in spring [we will have F-16 jets - ed.]. Already in use, that is.
Because today we have permission to train, there are countries that have volunteered to teach [the pilots - ed.], and there are even countries that have volunteered to transfer F-16s to us after completing training and infrastructure preparation.
But let me give you a metaphor, or rather an allegory, for the connoisseurs out there. There is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. And at one time, there was a discussion about why the hobbits could not sit on eagles and easily deliver the ring to a mountain of fire. They couldn't, actually. Because they needed: a) the political will to grant eagles; b) obtaining approval from ‘governments of eagle states’; c) it was necessary to ensure the training of ‘eagle pilots’, to prepare an airbase for them, and specialists who would serve them, feed them, and take care of their nests; d) and throughout all of this time, those states that have eagles would repeat the same argument: ‘And why do you need eagles if you are countering Sauron so well already?’."
Details: According to Reznikov, the refusal of partners to provide F-16s has never been a political issue. He explains that the West has been afraid of escalation and is trying not to drag NATO into a war with Russia.
The minister said that he had written "more than one letter" of commitment that Ukraine would not use NATO weapons in Russia.
- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine has made arrangements concerning the supply of about 50 F-16 fighter jets but overall needs nearly 160 such aircraft to protect its skies.
- Before that, the Pentagon stated the US would train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets if European countries fell behind their schedule or if the number of pilots increased significantly.
- Ukrainian pilots are known to have already started training on F-16 fighter jets in Denmark, Greece and Portugal, which will also train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16s.
- Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway announced their decision to send these aircraft to Kyiv after training is complete.
- Valerii Zaluzhnyi, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that Ukrainian pilots in Denmark are ready to begin flight training on F-16 fighters.