In a recent announcement, Yuriy Ihnat, the press secretary of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) Air Force Command, stated that Ukraine would not be able to receive American F-16 fighters from its allies during the upcoming autumn or winter seasons.

“We had high expectations that F-16 aircraft could enhance Ukraine’s air defense capabilities against Russian threats this fall and winter. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case,” Ihnat said during the national telethon on Wednesday, August 16.

The F-16 fighters were anticipated to play a pivotal role in fortifying Ukraine’s counteroffensive and air defense capability against Russian aircraft dominating the airspace over the frontlines.

An additional capability F-16s were hoped to provide was air defense against Russian cruise missile and drone attacks against Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

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However, Ihnat revealed that plans are shifting to focus on pilot training and bolstering the country’s ground-based air defense mechanisms such as Patriots and NASAMS.

“Although our pilots will soon undergo training, it’s clear that we need to reinforce our air defense systems,” Ihnat stressed.

Ihnat was referring to ground-based systems, which is what the US and NATO nations have been bolstering in recent months.

Since the start of 2023, Ukrainian authorities have been actively urging Western nations, particularly the United States, to expedite the supply of modern fighter jets, including the highly sought-after American F-16s.

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Despite facing heavy resistance and engaging in intense combat, the assault groups inflicted significant losses on Kremlin forces, with approximately 100 Russian casualties.

In July, John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the US National Security Council, indicated that the aircraft might be delivered to Ukraine by year’s end.

Reports emerged in July that an alliance of 11 countries, led by Denmark and the Netherlands, were prepared to initiate training programs for Ukrainian pilots to operate the F-16.

However, their efforts were hindered due to the lack of official authorization from the United States.

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A significant development came on August 8 when it was announced at a Pentagon briefing that President Joe Biden had granted permission for representatives from other nations to train Ukrainian pilots.

Official representatives of Ukraine and other countries have repeatedly stated that the pilot training should begin in August. Possible deliveries of fighters directly depend on the timing of its completion, along with maintenance support training and logistics infrastructure required to bed-down the aircraft.

However, the training hasn’t started yet and will likely take longer than anticipated.

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Comments (2)

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Maple leaf
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What a total mistake of Nato this should have started months ago. We all knew the counter offensive was going to happen. So just get it started and done. If anyone complains it's going to slow to blame Nato not the Ukraine.

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aldol11
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Germany is afraid that Russia will cut off gas supplies

Levant
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@aldol11,

nickelit
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Germany doesn't have F-16. And they are harbouring about 1.2 million Ukrainian refugees, of whom many prefer Berlin and other high real estate cities. Which costs thousands and thousands of Euros for every Ukrainian refugee, per month.

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