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Kuleba gives five reasons why Ukraine should receive F-16 aircraft

These fighters will not only bring victory closer but also save other Western resources and many lives.

Kuleba gives five reasons why Ukraine should receive F-16 aircraft

As the war with Russia enters a new phase, it is vital to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said.

"By making this strategic step, Washington will not only save the lives of many Ukrainians and ensure Ukraine's success on the battlefield, but will also help mitigate the global food crisis, gain valuable experience that will strengthen the US Air Force and ensure long-term stability in Europe," Kuleba said.

He named five reasons why Ukraine should receive F-16 aircraft.

First, Ukraine needs modern jets to strengthen its air and missile defence.

"Russian missiles and drones strike our peaceful cities at night, killing people, unfortunately, children, while they sleep. They destroy critical civilian infrastructure and endanger nuclear power plants with overpasses," the minister said.

He noted that Ukraine intercepts about 75% of Russian missiles and drones using ground-based systems and air-to-air missiles launched from outdated Soviet-era Ukrainian jets.

Second, modern jets are needed to support ground forces. Ukraine does not have the air superiority required by NATO standards for successful offensive operations. The F-16s will allow us to control the Ukrainian skies, reduce losses and increase the chances of our pilots surviving air battles.

"Supplying Ukraine with more Soviet-era MiGs will not achieve this goal. Their radars are inferior to Russian ones and their ammunition is outdated, which puts the lives of our pilots in serious danger," said Kuleba.

Third, modern aircraft are needed to ensure the security of the Black Sea grain corridor, which will allow Ukraine to fully resume food exports without relying on Russia's constant lack of goodwill.

"A squadron of well-equipped F-16s will allow us to keep Russian warships and combat aircraft away from the grain corridor's sea route. This will ensure an uninterrupted flow of ships transporting Ukrainian grain and other food products, in particular to the most vulnerable countries of the global south," the minister said.

Fourth, Ukraine's experience of flying F-16s in direct combat with Russia will benefit the US Air Force. Ukraine will share its experience of using the F-16 against Russia, which will significantly modernise the US Air Force without endangering American lives.

Fifth, F-16s in the hands of Ukrainian pilots will deter future Russian attempts to redraw borders in Europe. The F-16s will help Ukraine not only restore peace on its territory, but also curb Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive ambitions and de-escalate the conflict.

"Since February 2022, discussions on each new type of weapon have started with a 'no' and ended with a 'yes'. It took a long time to quell concerns, including the argument that we should not 'provoke' Moscow. In the end, no military delivery has ever had that effect. The F-16s are no different. Instead of focusing on fears that will never come true, we urge the United States and its allies to consider the benefits of providing Ukraine with F-16s," said Kuleba.

The minister stressed that Ukrainian pilots are battle-hardened and ready to complete the training, which could start as soon as possible, in a short time.

"There are also no problems with the availability of nozzles. We have reason to believe that some European partners are ready to provide the first platforms and take care of maintenance if Washington gives the go-ahead. Given the significant re-equipment, a number of countries will soon upgrade to the newer F-35, putting hundreds of F-16s on the market. Despite the claims of some analysts, Ukraine's infrastructure, including runways, is already capable of supporting F-16 operations," concluded Kuleba.

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