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FACT CHECK: Ukraine’s requested F-16 fighter jets yet to arrive


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FACT CHECK: Ukraine’s requested F-16 fighter jets yet to arrive
So far, no country has formally committed to sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, although plans to train Ukrainian pilots on the US-made aircraft are now afoot

Claim: The new F-16 fighter jets that Ukraine requested from its allies for its counteroffensive against Russia have arrived in the country. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video containing the claim was uploaded by an account with posts related to the Ukraine and Russia conflict. The account has 43,000 followers, while the video in question has 56,000 views, 349 comments, 1,900 reactions, and 90 shares as of writing.

The video’s caption states: “The New F-16 Super Finally Arrives in Ukraine.” 

The facts: There have been no official announcements or news reports about the arrival of F-16 jets in Ukraine. So far, no country has formally committed to supplying Kyiv with the US-made jets. 

Despite its caption, the Facebook video did not show proof to support its claim, with the narrator mostly describing the features of the F-16s.

No final offers yet: Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, Ukrainian officials have repeatedly requested its Western allies to provide advanced aircraft such as the F-16s. 

However, the US has shown resistance to the idea, fearing potential escalation of the conflict. In May, however, US President Joe Biden agreed to support the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets, and said that the US would work with other countries to supply Ukraine with the aircraft, according to the New York Times

According to CNN, several European countries have a supply of the fighter jets but would need US approval to export these due to sensitive US technology in the F-16s.

Earlier in June, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that he received “a serious, powerful” offer from European countries to provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets, and is awaiting final agreements on the offers. VOA News also reported that Washington was considering providing its own F-16s, though there was “no decision” yet, according to US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley.

According to reports, the Netherlands may send fighter jets to Ukraine after pilot training.

Pilot training: In June, NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg revealed that training for Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s was under way, according to The Guardian.

Aside from the Netherlands, Denmark has also expressed willingness to provide pilot training. On June 26, Denmark’s acting defense minister Troels Lund Poulsen said that the country “has taken the step of starting a training and further education effort for the Ukrainian pilots.” According to Poulsen, the pilots will have to spend six to eight months of training before a possible F-16 jet donation from Denmark.  – Ailla Dela Cruz/ Rappler.com

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