Espreso. Global

Russia views F-16 fighter jets arrival in Ukraine as dangerous – Estonia’s intelligence

13 January, 2024 Saturday
13:23

Russia's intensified missile attacks on targets in Ukraine indicate that Moscow considers the arrival of F-16 fighters in Ukraine dangerous

Colonel Ants Kiviselg, head of the Estonian Defense Forces Intelligence Center, said this at a briefing on January 12, ERR reports.

Kiviselg noted that Russia has been actively using long-range bombers and Kinzhal missiles in recent weeks to strike at the Ukrainian military, defense industry, and infrastructure facilities.

"Across the country, power generation facilities, port and railroad infrastructure, military airfields, weapons and ammunition depots, military training centers and defense industry enterprises engaged in the production and repair of weapons have been hit," he added.

According to the Estonian intelligence chief, the strikes on Ukrainian airfields "indicate that the Russians consider the arrival of F-16s in Ukraine's arsenal dangerous."

According to Kiviselg, the Russian tactic is to overwhelm Ukraine's air defense system. He believes that with the onset of cold weather, Ukraine can expect more massive attacks from Russia, as it is currently producing more ammunition than it is using.

F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine

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. 

The Netherlands will provide 42 fighter jets. At the same time, Norway will provide Ukraine with F-16s, but the exact number is unknown.

On September 15, Belgium joined the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. Earlier, the Belgian Defense Ministry said it would not provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters because they are outdated and in poor condition. Such aircraft are dangerous to operate.

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, the media reported that the Netherlands would send F-16s to Romania, where Ukrainian pilots would begin training in a few weeks.

On October 26, Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16s 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.

In early January 2024, Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said that Ukrainian pilots would complete training on F-16 fighter jets this year.

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