Ukrainian Officer Says NATO-Supplied F16 Jets ‘No Longer Relevant’

An anonymous Ukrainian officer warned that even if Ukraine receives F-16 fighter jets from the West, their imminent arrival was already too late to make a difference in the war, Politico reported.

Kyiv has been waiting on a delivery of F-16s from NATO countries while a coalition led by the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands has been training Ukrainian pilots to fly the aircraft since last year.

Unlike the jets Ukraine already has in its fleet, F-16s require a high runway standard, as well as reinforced hangars to protect them from attack. It is uncertain how many airbases in Ukraine meet the standards necessary.

According to Politico, one officer who worked for Ukraine’s former head of the armed forces said Ukraine needed the F-16s last year but they would not “be right for 2024.”

The officer said Ukraine has not been getting the weapons it needs when “we need them.” Instead, they arrive when they are “no longer relevant.”

He said Moscow has been preparing for the F-16s’ arrival by conducting range-finding with missiles fired without warheads. This allows the Russian forces to know where to place their missile defense systems to limit where the aircraft can operate while still covering their front line.

The officers also told Politico that there was a significant risk that Ukraine’s front lines could collapse if Russian commanders focused their offensive. Given the Russian military’s superior numbers and its use of guided aerial bombs, the officers believe that Russia could “penetrate the front line” and “crash it in some parts.”

One high-ranking officer warned that there were “no serious technologies” available that could help compensate for the mass of troops Russia would “likely hurl at us.” He said Ukraine does not have the technologies and the West does not have enough to make a difference.