F-16 Fighter Jets ‘No Longer Relevant’: Ukrainian Official

A senior Ukrainian military official has claimed that the US-made F-16 fighter jets set to arrive later this year are “no longer relevant” against Russian forces.

Once tagged as a potential war-winner in Ukraine, the aircraft sparked prolonged debate as countries carefully weighed in on whether or not it should fly in Ukrainian skies.

Washington only gave the green light in August 2023 on the condition that Ukrainian pilots undergo rigorous training in allied countries to safely and effectively operate the jets.

However, a high-ranking military official told Politico that every weapon has its own right time in the ongoing war and that the F-16s are no longer significant in Ukraine this year.

“Often, we just don’t get the weapons systems at the time we need them – they come when they’re no longer relevant,” he said. “F-16s were needed in 2023; they won’t be right for 2024.”

Right Time for Traditional Weapons, Drones

The Ukrainian military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, emphasized the importance of delivering weapons when they are needed the most.

He said the anti-tank missiles supplied on time by the UK and the US in the early weeks of the war proved decisive for Kyiv’s forces.

The more delays, the less significant a weapon system will be on the battlefield, the official said.

F-16 Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen sit on an F-16 fighter jet. Photo: Ritzau Scanpix.AFP

For now, another source said Kyiv needs traditional weapons and drones in greater volume to match Russia’s offensive.

“We need howitzers and shells, hundreds of thousands of shells, and rockets,” he stressed, estimating that the war-ravaged nation needs at least 4 million shells and 2 million drones to win the war.

Great Risk of Frontline Collapse

Without the right weapons in sufficient quantity, the officials admitted there would be great risk of a frontline collapse wherever Russian forces focused their attacks.

Moscow has for weeks been smashing Ukrainian positions using guided aerial bombs, increasing the likelihood of penetrating the frontline.

Even billionaire businessman Elon Musk remarked on the critical situation Ukraine currently faces, saying the longer the war goes on, the more territory Russia will gain.

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