F-16s and longer-range missiles will help Ukraine to defeat Russia – U.S. general Cavoli

The American General Christopher Cavoli was asked if F-16 fighter jets would help Ukraine win the battle against Russia during a closed-door session with more than ten senators and House members.

According to people in the room who agreed to speak anonymously to talk about a private session, the general said, “Sure,” Politico writes, citing its sources.

F-16 fighter jets will help Ukraine to dominate in the skies

According to Politico, the senior U.S. general in Europe privately urges American senators to provide Ukraine with advanced Western technology such as F-16 fighter jets, drones, and long-range missiles. He’s convinced it will help the Ukrainian army dominate the skies and strengthen its offensive operations against Russia.

The F-16 fighter jets dilemma was part of a broader Western debate about how the war should be conducted and what Ukraine needs to succeed in its plans to go on the offensive in 2023 and repel Russian offensives across hundreds of kilometers of front lines. 

Long-range missiles will help to destroy Russia’s commands and rear supply lines

Cavoli stated that Ukraine requires longer-range missiles to empower its military to hit Russian locations from a much longer distance. This capability will put Russia’s commands and rear supply lines in danger and aid in the disruption of Putin’s invading troops in Ukraine.

The general’s response goes beyond earlier public statements by top national security representatives, who have stressed that while they haven’t ruled out sending fighter jets in the future, air defenses are the most pressing current need.

Cavoli stated at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. and its allies should deliver Ukraine the most sophisticated weapons they have. Advanced airplanes, drones, and missiles with ranges of more than 100 kilometers are on the list. Cavoli believes this weaponry would strengthen the Ukrainian army’s capability to repel Moscow’s invaders.

Reach Russian strongholds along Ukraine’s border

The general, who serves as the top allied commander for Europe and as director of the U.S. European Command, argued that Ukraine needs more advanced weapons and equipment to “enhance the deep fight,” according to one source. 

A second Politico source said that Cavoli believes the Western allies should arm Ukraine to “reach further” into Russian strongholds along Ukraine’s border.

President Zelensky has long been asking for fighter jets 

This revelation comes as the global debate over whether to deliver modern fighter jets to Ukraine heats up.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has long advocated for fighter jets, claiming that Ukrainian pilots can train on Western-made planes and control the skies despite Russia’s air defenses. 

However, U.S. President Joe Biden and the E.U. states leaders have declined that request. They underlined the importance of Western tanks and artillery, soon to be delivered to Ukraine, in the present Russia-Ukraine war.

According to POLITICO, a bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote to Biden on Thursday requesting him to send F-16s immediately.

Selection of Ukrainian pilots for training on F-16 jets – Senator Kelly

The U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, who met with Cavoli and Ukrainian leaders in Munich, stated that he favors selecting Ukrainian pilots and maintenance staff and bringing them to the U.S. for training.

Kelly, a combat-experienced veteran Navy pilot, stated that Ukrainians are interested in utilizing the warplane to target Russian air defense systems from afar. 

It will allow the Ukrainian military to leverage other planes and drones to fly more freely around the country. It’s essential in the east, where fierce fighting is focused.

The U.K. to train Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard jets

The British government pledged to train Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard airplanes. However, it did not specify when the fighter jets would be sent to Ukraine.

Cavoli spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart about what additional military assistance Ukraine requires to fight back Russia’s assaults. 

The Western allies have already begun training Ukrainian soldiers on Leopard 2 and other tanks that Germany authorized sending in January.

Modern military capacity to impact the fighting soon

All modern military capacity received by the Ukrainian army will significantly impact the fighting in the coming months. 

Russian invading troops stagnated in Donbas, and they could not capture the town of Bakhmut for months. At the same time, they suffered huge losses. 

Moscow’s poorly trained conscripts and prisoners-turned-soldiers suffer on the front, and it seems to be a question of time before they will lose their capability to attack and be forced to retreat, as it happened in the battle for Kherson last autumn.

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