May, 24, 2023
1. Interview related to F-16 in Ukraine
Anna Cherkasova, Correspondent, Ukraine.ru
NATO will never admit that the Alliance's involvement in aggression against Russia could lead to World War III, but is doing everything in this direction. The meeting of G7 countries confirmed the readiness of Ukraine, NATO and the European Union to continue the war ‘until the last Ukrainian’.
The well-known political scientist, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Military Science Vladimir Kozin in his interview to Ukraina.ru commented on the results of the G7 meeting and the creation of the air coalition by London and Amsterdam.
Q: Vladimir Petrovich, in your opinion, was the G7 meeting significant in terms of its influence on the Ukrainian conflict? Is it worth attaching importance to the statements about deliveries of F-16s to the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine], or are these again words to intimidate Russia?
A: Yes, unfortunately, this meeting once again indicated the readiness of Ukraine, NATO and the European Union to continue the large-scale aggression against Russia ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and the war of attrition versus our country.
Serious significance should be given to statements about deliveries of F-16 fighter-bombers, since they are dual-capable aircraft, i.e. capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads on board.
Q: London and Amsterdam have agreed to form a coalition to supply F-16s to Kiev. Why now and why these countries?
A: The named states are the most active in supplying various types of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine and are ready to adhere to this line in the future. In addition, the Netherlands is replacing their existing F-16s with the more advanced F-35 multipurpose fighters, which are also able to carry nuclear weapons.
Q The F-16 fighters are over 45 years old. Will such old planes help?
A: By the date of original production, the F-16s really aren't very new. But as a result of repeated upgrades, they are still in service with the United States and many other NATO countries, and are still used as the carriers of American nuclear weapons.
Their delivery to Kiev will undoubtedly lead to an escalation of the confrontation between the East and the West. But supplying such aircraft to the AFU will not stop Russia's active and progressive opposition to Ukrainian and NATO aggression.
Q: According to military experts, Ukraine has no specialized airfields that can service F-16s. It turns out that the planes can take off only from Poland and other states bordering Ukraine. If this happens, NATO will essentially come into direct conflict with Russia. Is the Alliance ready to provoke a Third World War?
A: Ukraine has military airfields that can service F-16s. In addition, such aircraft can use military airfields located in three Baltic states (via Polish airspace), as well as Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and other NATO member countries.
The Alliance will never admit that its involvement in aggression against Russia could lead to World War III, but in fact it does. NATO is doing everything in this direction.
Q: Would Russia be ready to hit NATO if something flew into our territory from Poland or the countries you mentioned?
A: There are no clear official answers to this question yet. But I think Russia should be ready to hit all these countries with combined high-precision weapons.
The targets of such retaliatory measures could be national and military airfields transferred for use by the Ukrainian Air Force; storage hangars; ammunition and fuel and lubricants depots for aircraft of the named states.
Q: The US Presidential National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the USA will not allow Ukraine to use US and Western weapons to strike Russia, but Crimea, he believes, belongs to Ukraine. So, the USA gave Ukraine permission to strike the Crimean Peninsula and approved of starting a nuclear war?
A: We should have no illusions about such statements coming from both Washington and Kiev. Such promises have never been kept when using ground-based weapons and military equipment against Russia. Nor will they be fulfilled in the case of Ukrainian air attack facilities.
[Note: this is an English translation of the interview that has been originally published in Russian at Ukraine.ru website on May 22, 2023: https://ukraina.ru/20230522/1046454419.html]
2. Russian military expert on F-16 fate in Ukraine
Yury Knutov, military expert and director of the Museum of Air Defense Forces, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that a group of Ukrainian pilots arrived in the United States for training a month ago and that getting them up to speed on flying modern fighters would take four months.
The analyst believes that the addition of the aircraft to the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ arsenal may pose some challenges for the Russian side, particularly because the F-16s could be used as a launch platform for long-range missiles supplied to Kiev and used to hit targets such as Crimea, Donbass, and Russian border regions.
"We have SU-35s capable of shooting down more advanced airframes than F-16s at long range. Furthermore, our pilots can detect them long before they are discovered. There are also effective anti-aircraft missile systems capable of shooting down enemy targets from a long distance," the expert added.
As a result, new aircraft deliveries will trigger a new wave of escalation, but they will not be a "game changer" that fundamentally alters the overall situation in the conflict zone, Kunutov told the newspaper.
By Vladimir Kozin, Russian military expert