18 Feb – The first F-16 fighters may appear in Ukraine in June, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told the magazine Foreign Policy.
“I think that in June we will see them (F-16s – ed.) in Ukraine,” Anusauskas said.
As the magazine notes, the Lithuanian Defense Minister referred to the schedule, which was confirmed by a European official present at the Munich Security Conference.
According to the publication, Ukrainian authorities expect 12 pilots to undergo training on the F-16 by the end of the US fiscal year.
The Netherlands and Denmark were the first to agree to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters. The White House has confirmed that Ukraine will receive combat aircraft from third countries once its pilots complete training. The head of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, Kaisa Ollongren, said that the Hague expects to send the first F-16 fighters to Kyiv in 2024. As Russian Ambassador to The Hague Alexander Shulgin noted earlier, the Dutch are “turning a blind eye” to the fact that the supply of their F-16 fighters to Kyiv will lead to a prolongation of the conflict in Ukraine and even greater suffering for its citizens.
Russia previously sent a note to NATO countries over arms supplies to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that any cargo that contains weapons for Ukraine will become a legitimate target for Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that NATO countries are “playing with fire” by supplying weapons to Ukraine. The Kremlin emphasized that pumping Ukraine up with weapons from the West does not contribute to the success of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations and will have a negative effect. Lavrov also stated that the United States and NATO are directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, including not only by supplying weapons, but also by training personnel in Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and other countries.