Russia on Western F-16 fighter jets: “All destroyed within 20 days”

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu expressed the assumption that the first Western F-16 fighter jets in Ukraine could be shot down within just three weeks.

During a meeting at the Ministry of Defense, Shoigu stated that Russian air defense had successfully intercepted “more than 1400 enemy aerial targets, including 37 aircraft and 6 ATACMS tactical missiles” in the past month, as reported by the German news website Based on this pace, he believes that the F-16 fighter jets could be eliminated within 20 days.

However, it is difficult to verify whether Shoigu’s claims about past shootdowns are accurate. The Russian military has been criticized in the past for exaggerating its own successes. For example, the Defense Ministry has claimed to have shot down over 500 Ukrainian aircraft, which is more than Ukraine has ever possessed in terms of its own aircraft, even when considering deliveries of old MiG and Sukhoi fighter jets from allied countries, especially in Eastern Europe.

Image:, CC BY 4.0, Vladimir Putin and Sergey Shoigu – Saint-Petersburg 2017-07-30 (1).jpg, via Wikimedia Commons (no changes made)

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