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Despite Conflicts in Other Regions, the Russo Ukrainian War Continues

Sean Asay
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year and a half ago, Ukraine has lobbied the United States for advanced weapon systems including aircrafts such as the F-16. In late September, the United States approved the distribution of F-16s to Ukraine.

Although the recent headlines have been filled by the current events in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has now been going on for over 600 days continues to rage with no end in sight, at least for now.  

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began in February of 2022, was initially due to a land dispute that dates back to the Soviet Union’s reign until it’s dissolution in 1991. When Ukraine was apart of the Soviet Socialist Republics. What Russia once thought would be a quick operation to regain Ukraine has turned into a near two-year-long conflict.  

Ukraine has seen vast support from numerous countries, particularly those in NATO who have supplied Ukraine with numerous supplies, including weapons, vehicles and money. Among those countries is the United States. Out of all of the countries supplying Ukraine, the United States has supplied the greatest amount. However, Ukraine still pushes for more. Ever since the invasion began, Ukraine has been lobbying to western nations like the United States for the F-16 fighter jet aircraft, an aircraft that is built in the United States. Numerous countries across the globe operate the F-16, including Denmark and the Netherlands who wish to send theirs to Ukraine. Because the F-16 is an American aircraft, the United States has to approve other countries’ requests to send F-16s to Ukraine, and the United States did.  

“I am writing to express the United States’ full support for both the transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine and for the training of Ukrainian pilots by qualified F-16 instructors,” was written in a letter sent by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in August of 2023.  

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Just because the United States has approved foreign countries to supply F-16s to Ukraine, the U.S., however, is not fully out of the picture. U.S. Air Force officials agree that supplying F-16s to Ukraine and not having Ukrainian pilots trained on them, is a recipe for disaster. So the United States has stepped in and has already began training Ukrainian pilots within the United States, specifically in Tucson, Arizona. 

“Ukrainian pilots are now training with the Arizona Air National Guard on F-16s,” said U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink on Oct. 26. 

In total roughly 20 F-16 aircraft are expected to be supplied to Ukraine from Denmark, with six expected to arrive before the years end, eight in 2024 and five in 2025, for a total of 19. The first batch of Ukrainian pilots are not expected to be proficient and fly the aircraft in combat until 2024. 

Besides the F-16 aircraft, as of Oct. 16, the United States announced that all 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks, that they promised to supply to Ukraine in January of 2023 were finally delivered to Ukraine after months of training Ukrainian crews on how to operate the tanks effectively.  

If the supply of aircraft and other equipment, including M1 Abrams tanks and Patriot air defense systems will drastically change the battlefield is currently unknown, and many western officials state that the F-16 aircraft will not be as useful in Ukraine due to Russia’s advanced air defense systems and contested airspace. 

In total, Western sources such as the United States and the United Kingdom estimate over 200,000 deaths so far since the invasion began in February of 2022. This includes roughly 120,000 Russian troops, 70,000 Ukrainian troops and 10,000 civilians. The death toll will continue to grow until both countries reach an agreement, or either country “wins”. 


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About the Contributor
Sean Asay
Sean Asay, Photographer
Hello, my name is Sean Asay and I am a photographer on the Stampede Newspaper. I am a senior and this will be my third year as staff. Some of my interests and hobbies include aviation and photography.
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