F-16s in Ukrainian skies will be surprise for Russia - Lieutenant General Romanenko
Lieutenant General Ihor Romanenko, founder of the Close the Skies of Ukraine Charitable Foundation, believes that the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine will be announced after the successful operation of these fighters against the Russian troops
He expressed this opinion on Espreso TV.
"The official spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, said that the transfer of F-16 fighters will not be announced. The information strategy has already been developed, and it makes sense. In general, the story of the F-16s should come as a surprise to the enemy. The Russians should be the first to feel the presence of F-16s in the Ukrainian sky. After all, the use of such weapons will lead to serious losses of the occupation forces," Romanenko explained.
According to Romanenko, Ukrainians will know about F-16s in the Ukrainian sky directly after the results of their work against the invading Russian forces.
"Therefore, I think that we will learn about F-16s in the Ukrainian sky directly after their work against the occupiers. Only then will it be possible to talk about the number of these fighters and their equipment. So now the information about the transfer of F-16s should be taken as practical steps," he added.
F-16 fighters for Ukraine: what is known
On May 21, US President Joe Biden approved the training of Ukrainians on F-16s. Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured that Ukraine would not use these aircraft to strike at Russian territory.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says that the first F-16 fighter jets are likely to fly in Ukraine's skies by the end of March 2024.
On August 17, the United States approved the shipment of F-16 multi-role fighters to Ukraine.
At the same time, Denmark said it would supply Ukraine with the aircraft if they were not used in Russia.
On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. The Belgian Defense Ministry had previously said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, but later the government suggested that several F-16s might be delivered to Ukraine next year. In 2024, the Netherlands plans to provide Ukraine with the first batch of F-16 fighters.
On October 11, Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country would be able to deliver the first F-16s to Ukraine in March-April 2024.
On October 12, it is reported that the Netherlands will send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots will begin training in a few weeks.
On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16 fighter jets at an air base in Arizona, USA.
On November 1, the Pentagon said that the training in Arizona could last from 5 to 9 months.
On November 7, five Dutch F-16 fighter jets arrived in Romania, where a training center will soon open to train Ukrainian and Romanian pilots.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov met with his Belgian counterpart, Ludivine Dedonder, to discuss the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine and pilot training.
On December 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the Netherlands had begun preparations to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
On December 23, it was reported that Ukraine, according to the Estonian Ministry of Defense, is likely to receive the first batch of F-16 fighters by the end of 2023.