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F-16s Arrival May Empower Ukraine to Launch a Counteroffensive, Says Polish General

F-16s Arrival May Empower Ukraine to Launch a Counteroffensive, Says Polish General
A Polish Air Force F-16 jetfighter takes part in the NATO exercise as part of the NATO Air Policing mission, in Alliance members' sovereign airspace on July 4, 2023. Source: Getty Images

With NATO’s summit opening in Washington on July 9, member states will discuss further assistance to Ukraine. The summit coincides with significant decisions by the US administration, including the provision of additional air defense systems to Ukraine, the potential for strikes on Russian territory, and preparations for Ukraine to begin using F-16 aircraft.

Jaroslaw Kraszewski, the former commander of the missile forces and artillery of the Ground Forces of the Polish Armed Forces, now head of the Polish private company RBL, which produces combat drones, shared his thoughts on the impact on the battlefield in Ukraine once the Ukrainians start using F-16 fighters, in an interview with Ukrinform.

Kraszewski believes Ukrainian forces could launch a counteroffensive if equipped with F-16 fighter jets.

Following the formation of a ten-nation “fighter jet coalition” by Denmark and the Netherlands at the 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, Ukraine is set to receive its first F-16s by this autumn.

Additionally, The Netherlands issued permission to export 24 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, with the first plane planned to be sent “in the near future”.

“The battlefield will undergo a radical transformation when Ukrainian aviation acquires F-16 fighter jets. This acquisition would significantly benefit Ukraine, potentially creating the conditions for a counteroffensive. However, a crucial consideration for the fall is the development of a plan to protect critical infrastructure. As winter approaches, ensuring Ukrainians have access to basic necessities like electricity, water, and gas becomes paramount,” he said.

According to the Polish general, Western aircraft and missiles are expected to help stop Russia’s offensive in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions and “cyclically and effectively” destroy logistics deep within Russia.

Kraszewski also emphasized that the West must permit Ukraine to carry out strikes deep inside Russia to facilitate the liberation of Ukrainian territories.

“To effectively counter Russian aggression, Ukraine’s air force requires long-range missiles. These missiles would be used for strategic strikes against critical Russian infrastructure, particularly airfields. Crippling these airfields would disrupt Russian logistics, hindering their ability to resupply their main forces,” according to Kraszewski.

Earlier, Commander of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, Oleksiy Neizhpapa, is confident that F-16 deliveries will be a turning point, and believes it will allow Ukraine to fight back against Russia’s “full dominance” of the Black Sea airspace.

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