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IPFS News Link • Ukraine

Ukraine To Keep Many F-16 Jets Abroad On Fears Russia Will Immediately Destroy

• https://www.zerohedge.com, by Tyler Durden

Ukraine's armed forces are expected to begin receiving the first of dozens of F-16 fighter jets within weeks. In total over 60 are expected to arrive from Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands - at a moment Ukrainian pilots are still undergoing lengthy and highly technical training programs in the Europe and the United States.

But decision-makers in Brussels and Kiev already fear that they will make for highly attractive targets for Russian long-range and aerial strikes before they ever see aerial combat in Ukraine's skies.

"Ukraine may keep some of the F-16 fighter jets it's set to receive from its Western allies at foreign bases to protect them from Russian strikes," a senior Ukrainian military officer was cited in the Associated Press as saying Monday. Likely the jets will be "hidden" hosted at bases in Romania and Poland, which are both NATO countries.

Serhii Holubtsov, who is head of aviation for Ukraine's air force, confirmed that "a certain number of aircraft will be stored at secure air bases outside of Ukraine so that they are not targeted here."

He described that warplanes kept outside of Ukraine can be used for further training of Ukrainian pilots, and can be held in reserve in instances where jets actively engaged in combat have to be grounded for repairs.

"This way, we can always have a certain number of aircraft in the operational fleet that corresponds to the number of pilots we have," he said. "If there are more pilots, there will be more aircraft in Ukraine."

But we might ask: what's the point? Zelensky has since the start of the war been begging the West to "close the skies". The F-16s were pledged toward that end (as a 'compromise' short of the West directly setting up a NFZ), but they haven't even arrived yet and Kiev is essentially going to hide many of the expensive aircraft from the start.

It was once thought that US-made fighter jets could be used for Ukrainian forces to go on the offensive against entrenched Russian front lines, but that doesn't look like it's going to the case.