Denmark to delay F-16 aircraft delivery to Ukraine
It appears that Denmark will delay the donation of six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by six months, as reported by Bloomberg on January 6. Denmark had initially pledged to provide Ukraine with a total of 19 F-16s, with the first six set to be delivered by the end of 2023 and the remaining by 2025. However, the Danish Defense Ministry has now stated that the first batch will be delivered sometime during the second quarter.
The decision to delay the delivery is reportedly contingent on several factors, including the successful training of Ukrainian pilots, as well as the availability of logistics and infrastructure to service the aircraft in Ukraine. Denmark is also involved in training Ukrainian pilots, with six currently undergoing F-16 training in the country. Additionally, Denmark, along with Romania, France, the U.K., and the U.S., provides training for Ukrainian pilots.
It's worth noting that Denmark is in the process of replacing its fleet of F-16s with new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. However, the country is also facing delays in receiving the new aircraft on schedule from Lockheed Martin Corp.
Russia may soon intensify attacks in Kharkiv Oblast
In a concerning development, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S.-based think tank, has reported that Russian forces may intensify offensive operations in Kharkiv Oblast in the coming weeks, with a primary focus on seizing the strategically critical town of Kupiansk. This move comes as a potential escalation in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, bringing renewed fears of military confrontation in the region.
Kupiansk, liberated from Russian occupation during the September 2022 Ukrainian counteroffensive, holds significant importance as a key logistics hub. The town's capture could enable Russian forces to expand their control south or west, making it a crucial target for Moscow's renewed offensives.
The ISW's assessment suggests that the upcoming offensive is unlikely to mirror the failed Russian attempt in northeastern Ukraine in winter-spring 2023. Instead, Russian forces seem poised to gradually escalate localized operations, with a particular focus on Kupiansk.
The tempo of operations and troop configurations in the area do not indicate a major offensive along the entire Kupiansk-Lyman line. The ISW notes that Russia has been slowly building up reconstituted and well-rested units, avoiding substantial efforts in ongoing hostilities to minimize losses experienced in previous engagements, such as the Battle of Avdiivka.
Russian units involved in the Kupiansk direction reportedly include the 1st Guards Tank Army and the 6th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District. These units have been reinforced through Russian mobilization efforts.
The potential capture of Kupiansk could allow Russian forces to push Ukrainian troops off the east bank of the Oskil River. Experts suggest that this could set conditions for further operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna axis, indicating a strategic move by Russian forces.
In December, the Ukrainian military issued a warning about Russia deploying reserves to capture the village of Synkivka, part of efforts to encircle Kupiansk. Ukrainian army spokesperson Volodymyr Fito highlighted Moscow's movement of reserve assault battalions to the area as a response to heavy losses.
The evolving situation in Kharkiv Oblast raises concerns about the potential escalation of hostilities in Ukraine. The strategic importance of Kupiansk and the movements of Russian forces indicate a delicate and volatile situation. The international community will be closely monitoring developments, and it is crucial to stay informed through reliable sources as events continue to unfold in this complex geopolitical landscape.
Losing Su-34 aircrafts in Kherson oblast affects Russian operations on the left bank of the Dnipro river
Recent developments in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine have seen a significant impact on the southern front, specifically in Kherson Oblast, following the downing of three Russian Su-34 fighter jets. According to a review by UK Defence Intelligence dated January 6, the incident has altered Russian forces' operational dynamics on the left bank of the Dnipro River.
On December 22, Ukrainian defenders successfully downed three Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers on the southern front. The UK Defence Intelligence report highlights the crucial role that Russian tactical air power had been playing in the region, particularly in targeting Ukraine's bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River.
Following the downing of the Su-34s, the report notes a significant shift in Russian operations. Russian fighter jets reportedly "almost completely ceased crewed operations" for a certain period. UK Defence Intelligence believes that this lack of air support may have contributed to the failure of a subsequent attempt by Russian Ground Forces' 18th Combined Arms Army to clear the Ukrainian bridgehead.
While there was a temporary reduction in Russian air operations, the report acknowledges that in recent days, Russia has intensified tactical airstrikes in the area of the Ukrainian bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River. However, the level of airstrikes remains lower than before the downing of the Su-34s.
The UK Defence Intelligence review emphasizes that Russia's inability to establish air superiority in the early stages of the conflict continues to undermine their daily operations. The downing of the Su-34s has highlighted the vulnerability of Russian air assets, impacting their ability to dominate the airspace over key strategic locations.
The incident involving the downing of three Russian Su-34 fighter jets by Ukrainian defenders has had a notable impact on the operational capabilities of Russian forces on the southern front. While Russia has recovered to some extent, the episode underscores the ongoing challenges Russian military operations face in maintaining air superiority. The situation remains fluid, and further developments will be closely monitored as the region's conflict unfolds.