Ukraine's defense minister says his country will forgo F-16 fighter jets but use all ground-based equipment in its widely anticipated counteroffensive against Russian forces this summer, Report informs.
Oleksii Reznikov spoke in an exclusive interview with NHK on Sunday in Singapore, where he had joined senior defense officials from Asian and Western nations at a major security forum.
When asked about the F-16 jets long coveted by Ukraine, Reznikov said they "will not be game changing this summer." Some Western countries are training or have offered to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the aircraft.
Reznikov said it will take time to train Ukrainian pilots and that Ukraine will also have to arrange with its partners to secure engineers and technicians who can maintain and repair the sophisticated jets.
He said Ukraine would be ready to deploy F-16s in the autumn or winter.
Reznikov refused to answer a question about the view that Ukraine had launched "shaping operations," which involve attacks on weapons storage facilities and other logistics bases to prepare for the counteroffensive.
He said it would be strange for him as the defense minister to discuss shaping operations because they should be discussed by generals.