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Ukraine may receive first batch of F-16 by end of this year

Ukraine may receive first batch of F-16 by end of this year The first F-16 aircraft may be delivered to Ukraine by the end of 2023 (photo: Getty Images)

The first batch of F-16 fighter jets may arrive in Ukraine from Western partners approximately within a week, i.e., by the end of 2023, reports ISW.

The statement notes that on Friday, December 22, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed during a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the Dutch government would prepare the first 18 F-16 fighter jets for delivery to Ukraine.

Analysts point out that although the head of the Dutch government did not specify the timeline for the delivery of the aircraft to Ukraine, a recent Estonian strategic document mentioned a period specifically by the end of the current year.

"While Rutte did not confirm the timeline for the F-16 delivery, a recent Estonian strategic document noted that the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium had already committed to donating F-16s to Ukraine 'by the end of the year (2023),'" the report states.

Key findings by ISW

  • Ukrainian officials continue to warn that Russia maintains its maximalist goals and additional objectives for territorial annexation of Ukraine, despite recent comments from Western officials claiming that Russia has already been defeated.

  • It is reported that the Russian Aerospace Forces lost three Su-34 bombers in southern Ukraine between December 21 and 22.

  • The Wall Street Journal has identified a close associate of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev as responsible for the killing of the founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

  • The Kremlin continues to position itself as a "neutral arbiter" in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, despite its increased anti-Israeli rhetoric.

  • On December 22, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order granting the U.S. Department of the Treasury the authority to impose sanctions on banks and other financial institutions that facilitate Russia's evasion of sanctions.

  • Russian officials continue to downplay the deterioration of Russian-Armenian relations, possibly as part of a coordinated campaign to improve bilateral relations amid concerns about Russia's waning influence in the South Caucasus.

  • Russian forces have confirmed advances on the northeast and southwest of Bakhmut and on the southwest of Avdiivka, while continuing positional combat operations along the entire front line.

  • A representative of Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russian forces are intensifying efforts to form additional units to keep pace with the rate of Russian losses in Ukraine, enabling them to support ongoing offensive operations on the front.

  • During a working visit to the occupied territory on December 22, Kremlin-appointed ombudsperson for children's rights Maria Lvova-Belova outlined new measures for social support aimed at further integrating the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region into the Russian Federation.

F-16 for Ukraine

Earlier, Ukraine's allies announced the creation of an aviation coalition to provide the country with modern fighter jets, including F-16s. The coalition is led by the Netherlands and Denmark.

In the fall, Politico reported that Ukrainian pilots had started flight training on F-16s in the United States, and by October 25, they had begun flying F-16s. Prior to this, they underwent training on simulators, flight simulators that fully replicated the aircraft's cockpit.

On December 22, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the government had decided to prepare the first 18 F-16 fighters for transfer to Ukraine. In turn, during negotiations, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the Dutch government for its decision regarding these aircraft.

Earlier, the spokesperson for the Air Force, Yuriy Ignat, explained that the F-16 aircraft transferred to Ukraine would need some modernization to match the capabilities of Russian aviation.