ua en ru

Ukraine will have right to strike with F-16s on legitimate targets in Russia - NATO chief

Ukraine will have right to strike with F-16s on legitimate targets in Russia - NATO chief Photo: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

Ukrainian pilots of F-16 fighter jets will have the right to strike legitimate military targets in Russia, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

When asked when Ukraine would be able to deploy the F-16s, Stoltenberg said it was impossible to say.

He confirmed that all of Ukraine's allies want the fighter jets to be in Ukraine as soon as possible, but noted that the effect of the F-16s will be stronger if the pilots are well trained and the crews and other support personnel are well prepared.

"So, I think we have to listen to the military experts exactly when we will be ready to or when allies will be ready to start sending and delivering the F-16s. The sooner the better," he said.

According to Stoltenberg, each ally will decide for itself whether to supply F-16s to Ukraine, and the allies have different policies.

But at the same time, the Secretary-General noted, the war in Ukraine is a war of aggression, and Kyiv has the right to self-defense, including strikes on legitimate Russian military targets outside Ukraine.

F-16s for Ukraine

Last August, the Netherlands and Denmark promised to provide Ukraine with 61 American-made F-16 fighter jets.

Recently, it became known that the Netherlands planned to prepare six additional F-16s for Ukraine. Ukrainian pilots are being trained in Denmark and the United States.

Earlier, CNN reported that the first group of Ukrainian pilots, consisting of four people, would complete the F-16 training program by the summer of 2024.