When the conflict arose between Russia and Ukraine, there was a prevailing anticipation that the war would conclude swiftly. This perspective was rooted in the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin, known to command one of the most formidable armed forces globally and possessing considerable military experience, would lead to a swift victory. In contrast, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s background as a former comedian added an element of contrast, further contributing to these expectations.
After eighteen months elapsed, the Russian military finds itself under significant pressure due to weaponry supplied to Ukraine from European and North American sources. During this time, Zelenskyy has managed to effectively defend his nation, while Putin has encountered internal unrest within his populace. At present, Ukraine’s supporters are dispatching formidable aircraft to provide assistance in this situation.
In the latest development, Denmark and the Netherlands declared their intention on Sunday, August 20th, to furnish Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. This proclamation designates these two countries as pioneers in pledging to provide the aircraft to the conflict-ridden nation.
President Zelenskyy welcomed this decision as a significant advancement for Ukraine in its endeavors to obtain these potent aircraft. While the Ukrainian military currently operates a fleet of jets from the Soviet era, the president has been actively working to secure F-16s for several months. The deployment and operational use of these planes in Ukraine will effectively challenge Russia’s aerial supremacy.
While visiting the Netherlands, President Zelenskyy conveyed that the country expressed an intent to provide him with 42 F-16s; nevertheless, the exact number earmarked for delivery remains unclear. Zelenskyy emphasized that these aircraft will serve the purpose of safeguarding Ukrainian cities and villages from the presence of “Russian terrorists away from Ukrainian cities and villages.” Denmark’s Defense Ministry, on the other hand, confirmed plans to furnish Ukraine with 19 F-16s.
Over the past months, President Joe Biden had been resistant to Zelenskyy’s request on this matter. However, in May, he decided to no longer obstruct these agreements. He clarified that NATO member states are permitted to assist in training Ukrainian soldiers for piloting these aircraft.
During the events of Monday, the Russian envoy to Denmark, Vladimir V. Barbin, asserted that the decision to dispatch fighter jets would lead to an intensification of the conflict. Barbin contended that Denmark was using the pretext that Ukraine should independently set the terms for peace, effectively compelling Ukraine to prolong its engagement in the war against Russia.
Barbin omitted mentioning Russia’s occupation of significant portions of Ukraine and its refusal to withdraw.
These statements mirror Russia’s stance from May, when Alexander Gruhshko, the Russian deputy foreign minister, conveyed concerns about the substantial risks associated with sending F-16s to Ukraine, emphasizing the potential for the conflict to escalate further.