The US will support F-16 warplanes in boost for Kyiv's defense

President Joe Biden tells G7 allies that the US grants permission for western allies to supply Ukraine with advanced fighter jets, including American jets F-16

Photo: Ukrainian Air Force
Photo: Ukrainian Air Force

The United States endorsed joint allied training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, according to senior U.S. officials. 

This support from Washington is a significant development as Kyiv seeks to bolster its air power in the face of Russian aggression.

President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that Washington supports joint allied training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.

The training sessions for the U.S.-manufactured jets will be conducted in Europe and will require several months to complete.

U.S. authorities have estimated that the training and delivery of F-16s will take approximately 18 months to expedite.

"While the training unfolds over the upcoming months, our coalition of participating countries will determine the timing, quantity, and sources of the jets to be provided," explained the official.

Although the official did not disclose the countries involved, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak affirmed that the UK, together with the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, will collaborate "to ensure Ukraine obtains the necessary combat air capability."

In the past few motnhs, Western governments have been cautious about leaving their own territories vulnerable by providing excessive equipment to Ukraine.

They have also refrained from sending anything that could penetrate deep into Russian territory, thereby avoiding giving Moscow a pretext for further aggression.

This week, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine secured commitments from Britain and the Netherlands to assist in establishing a "jets coalition," although their leaders did not explicitly state whether they would send planes.

Zelenskiy expressed his appreciation for the news on Friday, stating on Twitter, "This will significantly strengthen our aerial forces. I look forward to discussing the practical implementation of this decision at the #G7 summit in Hiroshima."