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Defense Analyst: US F-16s Are Key to Ukraine War Effort
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By Anthony Haddad
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 13, 2024

A defense analyst emphasizes the crucial role of US F-16s in isolating Crimea from Russia and undermining Putin's position. (Shutterstock)

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A defense expert informed Business Insider that the delivery of U.S.-made F-16s could have a significant impact on Ukraine’s efforts to reclaim occupied Crimea.

Frederik Mertens, a Strategic Analyst at the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, mentioned to BI that Ukraine is laying the groundwork for future air strikes by targeting Russian ground-based air defense systems, anticipating the arrival of F-16 fighters.

Reports indicate that the first F-16s are set to arrive in Ukraine within weeks. Denmark has committed to transferring its aircraft during the summer, with Norway and Belgium also pledging F-16 support. Additionally, several countries, including the US, the UK, France, and Romania, are assisting in training Ukrainian pilots.

Russia-Held Crimea Is Vulnerable

Mertens cautioned against overestimating the impact of a limited number of F-16 fighters due to the vastness of the landfront and the scale of Russian forces.

He highlighted Crimea’s vulnerability, particularly to F-16 attacks, citing limited maneuverability for Russian forces on the peninsula and the strategic significance of the Kerch bridge for resupply.

While facing challenges on the Eastern front, including Russian forces’ attempts to capture Kharkiv, Ukraine has demonstrated successes against Russian forces in Crimea.

The deployment of advanced U.S. weapons, such as F-16s and long-range ATACMS missiles, increases Ukraine’s ability to isolate Crimea from mainland Russia and weaken its military capabilities.

Despite Crimea’s symbolic value to both Ukraine and Putin, Ukraine’s actions, including naval strikes, bombings, and targeting infrastructure like the Kerch bridge, have showcased its determination to challenge Russian control in the region.

Recent attacks and disruptions have also influenced Russian logistics, potentially leading to shifts in their military strategies regarding Crimea and the Kerch bridge.

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Anthony Haddad,
Multimedia Journalist
Anthony W. Haddad, who graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with his undergraduate degree and has an MBA at Fresno State, is the Swiss Army knife of GV Wire. He writes stories, manages social media, and represents the organization on the ground.

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