The Ukrainians have long been calling for Western-style fighter jets – above all, the US F-16. The Americans blocked it until the end. But at the G7 summit, President Biden is now moving.
US President Joe Biden has given the go-ahead for training Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighter jets. That’s what a high-ranking US government official said on Friday on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. A decision on the delivery of fighter jets to Ukraine should follow at a later date.
Biden informed G7 leaders at Friday’s deliberations that the United States “will support the training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including the F-16,” the government official said. As the training progresses, the coalition of countries involved in this effort will decide “when we will actually provide jets, how many we will provide and who will provide them.”
So far only fighter jets of Soviet design
The training will take place outside of Ukraine at locations in Europe and will last for months. “We hope that we can start this training in the coming weeks,” said the US government official.
Ukrainians have long been asking for Western-style fighter jets to defend their country against aggressor Russia. So far they have only received Soviet-designed MiG-29 fighter jets from the West. The country’s armed forces, however, want Western-style aircraft – above all US-built F-16s. The jet is considered a multi-talent that is available in large numbers and is used in many states.
The US government had so far rejected the claims. However, the United States plays a key role as a manufacturing country – not only because of its own large stocks. The US must also authorize any export of allied F-16s. And because of the sensitive technology of the jets, they also have a say in who is trained on them. Recently, several European countries had increased pressure to approach Kiev on the issue.
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