Blinken on F-16s for Ukraine: It Would Be Months and Months before They Were Operational

Monday, 24 July 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that Ukraine will receive American F-16 fighter jets, but it will take months before the Ukrainian Armed Forces can start using them.

In an interview with CNN, Blinken listed the reasons why Ukraine will only be able to use the fighter jets "in months."

"It's not just the equipment itself. It's the training. It's the maintenance. It's the ability to use it in combined arms operations. All of that takes time. If a decision were made to actually move forward on the F-16s tomorrow, it would be months and months before they were actually operational," the Secretary of State underlined.

According to him, the US is working on sending F-16s to Ukraine, but it's not enough, as a training program is also required. Blinken added that "the process on the F-16s is moving."

Earlier, the Coordinator for the White House National Security Council on Strategic Communications, John Kirby, stated that F-16 fighter jets could appear in the Ukrainian army by the end of this year.

Before this, thirty members of the European Parliament joined a call to send fourth-generation F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as soon as possible, with Ukrainian pilots training to start in August.

At the NATO Summit in Lithuania, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov signed a memorandum with 11 coalition member countries, which outlines the terms of training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

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