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Ukraine to expand corridor for merchant ships in Black Sea with F-16 - Navy Commander

Ukraine to expand corridor for merchant ships in Black Sea with F-16 - Navy Commander Photo: Oleksii Neizhpapa (
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, which is expected to take place shortly, will deprive Russia of its air superiority over the Black Sea, according to Ukrainian Navy Commander Vice Admiral Oleksii Neizhpapa.

"F-16s with the right armaments will be able to push away Russian warplanes. The northwestern part of the Black Sea, particularly the corridor for civilian ships, will be almost 100% secure," he says.

According to Neizhpapa, taking into account the attacks and strikes by maritime drones, Russian warships do not enter the northwestern part of the Black Sea, which covers an area of almost 25,000 square kilometers.

He adds that Ukraine would like to expand its shipping corridor, which only covers shipping from the three main Odesa ports, to include the ports of Mykolaiv and Kherson, but this is not possible. He cited Russia's control of the Kinburn Spit, which runs along this route.

In some areas, he says, civilian vessels are escorted by patrol boats to help provide mine protection, and air defense assets provide cover for both ports and corridors.

Ukraine's actions in the Black Sea have allowed it to create and secure its shipping corridor without Russian approval after Moscow withdrew from a UN-brokered military food export agreement last year.

The average monthly capacity of the sea corridor is about 7 million tons. According to the National Bank of Ukraine's forecast, this will allow farmers to export all of their products intended for export.