Ukraine will be able to deploy F-16 jets by autumn or winter of 2023, but these fighters will not be available during the current summer offensive.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the media during a visit to Singapore today that while training of pilots has commenced, infrastructure for maintenance is still to be set up.
However, the minister did not reveal from which country or countries the F-16 would be sourced. Several European nations which are currently replacing their F-16s with F-35s have expressed their inability to part with the older U.S.-made jets.
U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said there was no final decision on Washington sending F-16 aircraft.
One reason why Ukraine is desperately seeking F-16s is that it will be able to deploy the entire gamut of NATO air-launched missiles and bombs without any modification.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that the F-16s can 'accommodate' nuclear weapons.
"We must keep in mind that one of the modifications of the F-16 can 'accommodate' nuclear weapons," Lavrov said in a speech at a military base in Dushanbe in Tajikistan.