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Ukraine savages West for late F-16 deliveries: 'We needed them a year ago'

The US is due to supply Ukraine with deliveries of F-16 fighter jets in July, but a Kyiv official has slammed the aid package as being too little too late.

The anonymous official said they are “no longer relevant” to their fight against Russia. He said they need “shells and rockets” instead.

Previously, the jets were thought to be essential in tilting the war in Ukraine’s favour, but the high-ranking official said they would’ve been better suited to combat in 2023.

He told Politico: “Often, we just don’t get the weapons systems at the time we need them – they come when they’re no longer relevant. Every weapon has its own right time. F-16s were needed in 2023; they won’t be right for 2024.”

Instead, he called for “howitzers and shells, hundreds of thousands of shells, and rockets”. Recent estimates place the number of shells and drones needed by Ukraine as four million and two million, respectively.

READ MORE: Ukraine pledges future to NATO in rebellious message to Vladimir Putin

Following a recent $60 billion (£47 billion) aid deal that was blocked by US Congress, the Ukrainian official reiterated the need for western resources.

Vladimir Putin’s army have since been able to push back Ukrainian forces along almost the entirety of the 600-mile front line. The president has also declared that any US F-16 jets headed for Ukraine will be shot down.

He told air force pilots during a tour of a training facility: “If they supply F-16s, and they are talking about this and are apparently training pilots, this will not change the situation on the battlefield.

“We will destroy the aircraft just as we destroy today tanks, armoured vehicles and other equipment, including multiple rocket launchers.”


Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba also called for the US to prioritse Patriot defence missiles, rather than F-16 jets, in order to prevent Russian strikes on their cities.

He said: “With five Patriot batteries, we can defend the main industrial cities against Russian missiles. And once we’ve taken the threat away, the Patriots go back to where they were stationed.”

Patriot defence missiles are US-made, but Germany and the Netherlands have also already sent several of them to Ukraine, costing approximately $1 billion (£789 million) each.


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