Ukraine Receives Devastating F-16 News

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The delivery of the first Danish F-16 fighter jets destined for Ukraine could be delayed by up to six months in a blow to Kyiv’s hopes of challenging Russia in the air in the early part of 2024.

Ukraine will receive the initial six fighter jets in the second quarter of 2024, rather than in the first days of the year as originally suggested, according to Denmark’s defense ministry.

“Based on the current timetable, the donation should take place in the second quarter of 2024. It’s mainly an issue of finishing the training of Ukrainian personnel who will operate the planes,” Copenhagen said in a statement cited by The Guardian and the Kyiv Post.

The change in timetable was originally reported by Danish outlet Berlingske. A spokesperson for the Ukrainian air force appeared to suggest shortly after that Ukraine had received no official confirmation of the reports, and that it expected to receive the jets in the spring.

Newyork Verified has reached out to the Danish Defense Ministry and Ukraine’s air force for comment via email.

Danish F-16 fighters are seen during the Danish Air Show 2014 at Karup Air Base on June 22, 2014. The delivery of the first Danish F-16 fighter jets destined for Ukraine will be delayed by up to six months, according to a new report, in a blow to Kyiv’s hopes of challenging Russia in the air in the early part of 2024.
HENNING BAGGER/AFP via Getty Images

In August 2023, Denmark and the Netherlands announced that they would send F-16s to Ukraine, with the first six fighter jets due to arrive in Ukraine around the New Year.

Kyiv had clamored for the jets, which would boost Ukraine’s ability to contest Russia in the skies and help launch more strikes on key targets. The F-16s are equipped with more modern avionics and radars and are designed to launch the NATO-standard weapons Ukraine has been using with its older, Soviet-era jets.

Ukraine’s air force has also weathered nearly two years of war against Russia, cutting down its available aircraft.

But integrating the new, more advanced platform is no easy task, requiring new facilities, training, infrastructure, and upgrades to the aircraft before Ukrainian pilots can take to the skies.

On December 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the Dutch government was starting preparations to deliver a batch of 18 F-16 jets to Ukraine.

“The delivery of F-16s is one of the most important elements of the agreements made on military support for Ukraine,” said Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

Norway said earlier this week that it will send two F-16 fighter jets to Denmark to help train Ukrainian pilots on the aircraft. Belgium will also send two F-16s to Denmark for Ukrainian pilot training throughout 2024, Belgian broadcaster RTBF reported on Thursday.

The U.K. Defense Ministry said in late December that the “first cohort” of Ukrainian pilots being trained by the U.K. military have completed basic training in the country, and are “now learning to fly F-16 fighter jets in Denmark, having completed a basic programme of training in the UK.”

In early November, a number of F-16s arrived at a Romanian facility designed to train Ukrainian pilots, with others being trained at an air base in Arizona.