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F-16 delivery to Ukraine: ISW identifies serious problem for Ukrainian forces

F-16 delivery to Ukraine: ISW identifies serious problem for Ukrainian forces Armed Forces may face serious problems in using F-16 (

Regular changes in the policy of individual European nations to allow or prohibit using their F-16 fighters for strikes on Russian territory will complicate the ability of Ukraine's Air Force to plan and implement military operations, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Some Western governments demonstrate different policies on the use of F-16 fighters delivered by Ukraine.

Recently, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine would be able to use Belgian F-16s only on the territory of Ukraine, both controlled and temporarily occupied. However, he did not say whether Brussels would allow Belgian planes to strike at Russian territory from Ukrainian airspace.

On May 31, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that her country had not imposed any restrictions on Ukraine's use of Dutch F-16 fighters. According to her, the Ukrainian Air Force can use these fighters over or on the territory of Russia if Ukraine complies with Article 51 of the UN Charter and international humanitarian law.

This article stipulates that "nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against" a UN member state. This is a reminder that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory in the context of the Russian invasion are part of Ukraine's inherent right to self-defense.

"Continued variations in Western governments' F-16 policies will require Ukraine to track which aircraft Ukrainian forces can and cannot use to conduct certain strikes, complicating Ukraine's ability to plan and conduct aviation operations using F-16s," the ISW report says.

F-16 fighters for Ukraine

At the end of May, Belgium pledged to provide Ukraine with 30 F-16 fighters by 2028. The first aircraft are to be delivered to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by the end of this year.

The Ukrainian military will receive the F-16s from Denmark within a few months. After Denmark, the Netherlands will hand over its batch of planes to Kyiv.

Meanwhile, Sweden has suspended plans to send Gripen fighters to Ukraine. This is necessary for the effective introduction of F-16 fighters.

To find out which NATO countries are not against strikes on Russia with the weapons transferred to Ukraine, read RBC-Ukraine's report.