Russian Jets Downing in Ukraine Fuels F-16 Speculation

Russian fighter jets downed this month over Ukraine have caused speculation that F-16s have been deployed early in the country.

A total of eight Russian jets have been shot down over Ukraine in the last three weeks, including three Su-34 fighter-bombers on December 22.

The Patriot air defense system has been credited for most of the downings. However, pro-Russian Telegram channels have speculated whether the Lockheed Martin platform has already joined the battle.

They have even attributed an F-16-launched cruise missile for the demolition of a Russian vessel in the Black Sea this week.

First Batch Being Prepared for Delivery

The Netherlands said last week it was preparing to deliver 18 F-16s to Ukraine, without revealing the delivery schedule.

It comes after Amsterdam sent five of the aircraft to Romania in November to train Ukrainian pilots.

A total of 61 F-16s have been pledged by the country and Denmark to help Kyiv counter the Russian Air Force and mount a counter-attack.

Citing an unnamed source, Newsweek wrote that the first batch of F-16s has “likely” been delivered to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Pilot Training

Meanwhile, the UK announced this week that it has begun training Ukrainian airmen in Denmark to operate the aircraft.

Moreover, the US has been training “several” Ukrainians pilots and “dozens” of aircraft maintenance personnel in Arizona since September.

“I hope the West has learned not to announce new weapons systems, as was done for the most part for the first 20 months of the war,” Newsweek quoted Daniel Rice, former special adviser to Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“Russian forces should learn ‘the hard way’ when Ukraine fields a new weapon.”

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