BRUSSELS, November 29. /TASS/. Deliveries of F-16s to Ukraine will not be "a silver bullet" that will fundamentally change the situation on the battlefield, as the terms of their deliveries are unknown and depend on the timing of pilot training, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference following a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting of foreign ministers.
He said to prepare "for a long and hard fight."
"They [deliveries] will strengthen Ukraine's capacity to inflict losses on the Russian invading forces. And F-16’s will also help to further strengthen Ukraine's air defenses. At the same time, I think we need to now realize that there is not a silver bullet, not a single system that by itself will change fundamentally the situation on the battlefield," Stoltenberg said. "This is a question of many different capabilities are working together at the same time that will push the Russians back. We have to be prepared for a long and hard fight," the secretary general added.
He did not comment on when the planes would be delivered to Ukraine, emphasizing that "decisions have been taken," but everything will depend on how quickly pilots can be trained.
Stoltenberg welcomed the establishment of a training center for Ukrainian pilots in Romania. According to him, their training success will determine the supply of airplanes, which Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway are ready to deliver.
The secretary general acknowledged that Ukraine has failed to make any progress on the front this year, but called Kiev's strikes on rear areas with NATO-provided cruise missiles a "huge gain."
Stoltenberg also said that people "must not underestimate Russia," which despite the sanctions has significantly expanded its military production and "has amassed a large missile stockpile ahead of winter," which, in his view, requires NATO countries to continue to provide air defense support to Ukraine.