Unnamed source pushes narrative benefitting Putin

April 5, 2024

There are times when a headline immediately raises suspicions.  Yesterday’s headline below in Business Insider is a clear example.

The notion that F-16s would, if available to Ukraine, be “no longer relevant” is absurd.

There is a reason the reporter’s source is “an unnamed” someone because anyone claiming that position in public would be subject to ridicule and likely be accused of being a Kremlin propagandist.

If trained Ukrainian pilots had F-16s – say about 40 of them, which they should have been given long ago – the entire complexion of the battlefield would be different, and with Russian forces likely in full retreat.

If reporter Matthew Loh can get his “unnamed” source to come forward, let’s present that source with the opportunity to defend that position with a genuine Air Force strategist.  (I have several in mind.)

Who could benefit from the message in this article?

Certainly, Russia will do anything to continue to delay the arrival of armed F-16s in theatre.  Likewise, those in Washington whose extraordinary appeasement of Putin has kept the United States from giving Ukraine what everyone knows it needs to defeat Russia.

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) first recommended that the United States begin training Ukrainian pilots on NATO’s common fighter, the F-16, in 2018. The delay in having pilots trained and aircraft in-country has significantly damaged Ukraine’s war effort. Translated, that means the delay has cost human lives.

Finally, a limited number of pilots are finishing their training, and NATO allies – not yet the United States – will soon deliver a number of F-16s to Kyiv. We must make certain those fighters are fully equipped and arrive with all the support any NATO squadron would have.

There are reasons “sources” do not want to be identified – because their statements are dumb or worse are such reasons.

Business Insider

Russia's adapting air defenses means Ukraine's new F-16s are an example of weapons that are 'no longer relevant:' senior Ukrainian officer

Story by mloh@businessinsider.com (Matthew Loh)

  • An unnamed Ukrainian officer told Politico of his doubts about the usefulness of incoming F-16s.
  • He said that Russia has already been preparing the battlefield for the NATO aircraft by range-finding.
  • It's an example of how Ukraine often receives weapons systems too late, he told Politico.

Ukraine's long-awaited F-16s are an example of weapons systems that are "no longer relevant" once they end up in Kyiv's hands, a senior Ukrainian officer told Politico.
Russia has already learned how to counter F-16s in a way that would minimize their battlefield potential, said the unnamed officer, who, per Politico, worked under former Ukraine armed forces head Valery Zaluzhny.
In an article published on Wednesday, Politico's opinion editor Jamie Dettmer wrote that the outlet spoke to several top officers under the condition of anonymity.
One of Dettmer's sources was this officer, who lamented about the F-16s and said they were arriving too late to make a difference.
"Every weapon has its own right time. F-16s were needed in 2023; they won't be right for 2024," the officer said.
Dettmer wrote that the officer cited the F-16s as an example of how "we just don't get the weapons systems at the time we need them."
"They come when they're no longer relevant," the officer said.
According to this high-ranking officer, the Kremlin has been preparing for the arrival of the F-16s on the southern front by range-finding with missiles.
He said that these missiles, fired without their warheads, are informing the Russians on how to best place their S-400 defense systems to cover the frontline and limit where the F-16s can operate.
A coalition of countries led by the US, Denmark, and the Netherlands has since mid-2023 been training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s, and Kyiv is expected to soon receive up to 60 of the NATO aircraft.
The F-16s are expected to greatly increase Ukraine's strike capacity if fitted with long-range missiles.
They've long been sought after by Kyiv, which hopes they can help Ukraine claw its way to air superiority — even though the arriving F-16s will be secondhand and likely several decades old.
One pilot told Ukrainian media they're a massive step up from the Soviet MiGs he usually flies, comparing the upgrade to going from "a Nokia, straight to an iPhone."
But Politico's new report also sheds light on frustrations within Ukraine about the equipment its troops are receiving. The most prominent shortage is ammunition for the Western artillery and weapons that Kyiv received in the earlier days of the war.
With shells running dry, Ukraine says it is struggling to make gains and hold back Russia's advance.
It's unclear if this one officer's assessment is shared widely among Ukraine's forces and the country's military brass.
Voice of America, owned by the US government, published an interview in February with a Ukrainian pilot who said his comrades were impressed by the F-16s and found that they "exceeded their expectations."
But another officer who spoke to Politico shared a philosophy about the war that reflected his colleague's F-16 remarks — that weapons quickly become redundant once used.
"The Russians are always studying," he told the outlet. "They don't give us a second chance. And they're successful in this."
The Ukrainian Air Force and Air Force Command did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours by Business Insider.


Co-Founder, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

Director of External Affairs, Friends of Ukraine Network

The introductory comments are Mr. McConnell’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and/or the Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN).