Ukraine’s top national security official told CNN that he is confident Ukraine will eventually receive American-made F-16 fighter jets.
It’s only a matter of time before we get F-16s,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, told CNN in Kyiv on Monday. “They will definitely come. Unfortunately, in the meantime we’re losing our people while fighting for our independence.”
The F-16, first developed in the 1970s, is a highly maneuverable fighter jet, capable of carrying six air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles under its wings.
F-16s would give Ukraine the capability, should it overcome air defenses, to strike Russia with an American-made weapon far behind the frontlines, even outside of territory considered internationally to be Ukrainian.
There have been pledges from the West for main battle tanks to Ukraine in recent days, which has led to renewed calls from Kyiv for fighter jets. Publicly, however, Western leaders have eschewed discussion of fighter jets going to Ukraine.
In an interview with CNN last month, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov: “I sent a wish list card to Santa Claus last year, and fighter jets also [were] including in this wish list.”