Ukraine Says Some of Its F-16 Fighter Jets Will Be Stored Abroad

Putin has previously warned that Russia could target bases in NATO countries if they're hosting warplanes that are being used in Ukraine

A senior Ukrainian Air Force official said Monday that Ukraine plans to keep some of the Western-provided US-made F-16 fighter jets that it will receive at foreign military bases to protect them from Russian strikes, an arrangement that risks provoking Russian attacks on NATO territory.

“There are a certain number of aircraft that will be stored at secure air bases, outside of Ukraine, so that they are not targeted here,” said Brig. Gen. Serhiy Holubtsov, the chief of aviation in Ukraine’s air force. “And this will be our reserve in case of need for replacement of faulty planes during routine maintenance.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials have previously warned that NATO bases housing Ukrainian jets that are being used in the war could be potential targets.

“If they are stationed at air bases outside the Ukrainian borders and used in combat, we will have to see how and where to strike the assets used in combat against us,” Putin said last year, according to The Associated Press. “It poses a serious danger of NATO being further drawn into the conflict.”

Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have also noted that F-16s are capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Lavrov warned last year that Russia would view them as a nuclear threat. The Netherlands recently announced that it would allow Ukraine to use the F-16s it provides in strikes on Russian territory.

According to AP, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway have pledged up to 60 F-16s for Ukraine, but none have been delivered so far. The first planes are expected to arrive this summer, and Ukraine may only receive six at first due to delays in training pilots.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.