Ukraine needs F-16 fighters for its defense, says Zaluzhnyi

30 March, 02:58 PM
Valerii Zaluzhnyi (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTER)

Valerii Zaluzhnyi (Photo:Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTER)

Western F-16 fighter jets are extremely important for the defense of Ukraine, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, said on Facebook on March 30.

Zaluzhnyi posted a video in which Ukrainian military personnel tell how Ukraine's aviation put up unexpected resistance to the Russian invaders at the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

“Ukraine needs F-16s,” Zaluzhnyi said in captions to the video.

However, U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have previously announced that they would not hand over planes to Ukraine.

Video of day

Nevertheless, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, a positive decision on the transfer of aviation to Ukraine is a matter of one or two months.

The commander of the Air Force of Ukraine, General Serhiy Holubtsov, said on March 20 that Ukrainian pilots will be able to learn to fly F-16 fighters in less than six months.

Over the past year, Ukraine has pleaded with its military allies to provide it with air defenses, tanks and modern fighter aircraft. However, air defenses and tanks were only provided after lengthy delays and escalating attacks by Russia on Ukraine, and modern Western fighter jets have yet to be provided.

Ukraine has, however, received some Soviet-era MiG-29 fighters from current members of NATO who were once part of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact group of countries.

The Warsaw Pact was a nominally defensive alliance set up by the Soviet Union to counterbalance the NATO defensive alliance, but which in effect served as a means by which the Soviet Union could project military power across Eastern Europe.

It is notable as the only such defensive alliance in which member countries invaded each other, and on more than one occasion (Hungary, invaded by the Soviet Union in 1956, and Czechoslovakia, invaded by Soviet, Polish, Bulgarian and Hungarian troops in 1968.)

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