Some F-16s will be stationed abroad to avoid Russian strikes, – Ukraine’s Air Force Command

F-16 fighter jet. Photo:

Some of the Western F-16s for Ukraine will be maintained at airbases in Europe as Russia will be determined to eliminate them.

The Chief of Aviation of the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Serhii Holubtsov stated this in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“There is a certain number of aircraft that will be kept at secure airbases outside of Ukraine so that they are not targeted here. And this will be our reserve, if necessary, to replace aircraft out of order during routine maintenance,” Serhii Holubtsov said.

Ukraine is well aware that Russians will seek to immediately destroy F-16s despite the costs and efforts to show off eliminating such essential Western equipment.

“What we fear the most is that the Russians will not count ‘Kinzhals’ and ‘Iskanders’ to eliminate F-16s at our airbases,” the Chief of Aviation warned and added that Ukrainian airbases are currently being permanently attacked by Shahed drones.

While Ukraine can repel such attackes, it lacks missiles for air defence systems. To protect the F16 jets in the future, no less than two Patriot systems and two NASAMS systems, accompanied by Gepard anti-aircraft guns.

And still, the jets abroad will be used for training Ukrainian pilots and that the number of them in Ukraine can increase only together with the number of pilots trained.

When asked about the exact time of arrival of the jets, the Chief of Aviation avoided going into details and reiterated that first jets would arrive this year.

As of now, four countries have pledged F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine but Holubtsov hopes that more countries will step forward to supply them.

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