July 20, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Places for placing F-16s transferred to Ukraine

Some of the F-16 fighters transferred to Ukraine will be stationed at air bases abroad, said Sergei Golubtsov, chief of aviation of the Air Force Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

He spoke about this in interview publication Donbass.Realii. And he clarified that part of the fighters will be stationed on the territory of Ukraine, corresponding to the number of pilots trained to fly the F-16. Temporarily unused fighters will be kept in reserve “at secure air bases” abroad so that they “are not targets here.” As follows from Golubtsov’s words, these aircraft will not directly participate in combat operations, but will serve to replace those machines that may fail. Some of the fighters, he said, will be located in training centers for pilots and personnel:

“These will be Ukrainian planes that will be used to train our own pilots.”

At the same time, the commander did not specify which countries he was talking about. A large training base is located, in particular, in Romania.

Earlier, Vladimir Putin said, the publication recalls, that if F-16 fighters take part in the conflict in Ukraine, taking off from airfields in third countries, then such airfields will become a “legitimate target” for the Russian military. He did not say whether Moscow would consider such airfields a target if Ukrainian planes were stationed there but not directly involved in the war.

Golubtsov recalled in a conversation with reporters that four countries – Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands – have already agreed to transfer their F-16 fighters to Ukraine. Speaking about the number of transferred aircraft, he clarified that we are talking about thirty to forty, but in the future this number may increase. According to Golubtsov, he is convinced that this year F-16s will arrive in Ukraine and at least a flight will be able to take part in combat operations.

Earlier it was reported that not all countries that would transfer their F-16 fighters to the Ukrainian Armed Forces allowed Ukraine to use them to strike targets on Russian territory. Belgium, for example, opposed it. At the same time, Denmark and the Netherlands spoke in favor of using F-16s to attack targets in the Russian Federation.

At the end of May 2024, the first group of Ukrainian pilots completed training on F-16 fighters in the United States. They have been training at the 162nd Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, since October 2023. After completing their training, the pilots traveled to Europe for additional training.

Let us remind you that our publication reported: on May 22 it became known that the first ten Ukrainian pilots had fully completed basic flight, ground and language training in the UK. The next day, May 23, Politico reported that the first group of Ukrainian pilots had completed training at a military base in Arizona. And on June 1 it became known on the arrival of the first foreign instructor to Ukraine from Greece. Greek media note that his arrival is part of the F-16 coalition initiative formed in July 2023, during the NATO summit in Vilnius.

The Ukrainian authorities have been asking for F-16 fighter jets since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. A number of countries, with the consent of the United States, decided last year to transfer such aircraft to Kyiv.

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