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President Joe Biden has informed G7 leaders that the United States will support a concerted effort with allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots in the use of fighter jets, including F-16s. The White House confirms this after earlier reports to this effect appeared in US media.
The training should take place entirely in Europe. However, US personnel will participate in training with allies in Europe. This should take several months.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will attend the G7 summit in Japan, called the decision “historic” on Twitter. Zelensky repeatedly urged his Western allies to provide fighter jets. US clearance is required for delivery, as F-16s are produced in the United States.
However, the participation of the United States in the possible training does not mean that the United States has already decided to supply fighter jets to Ukraine. “As the training takes place over the next few months, the coalition of nations participating in this effort will decide if we will actually provide aircraft, how many we will provide, and who will provide them,” a government official told CNN.
In March, the United States hosted two Ukrainian pilots at a military base in Tucson, Arizona, to assess their skills using flight simulators and assess how long it would take them to learn to fly various US military aircraft. , including F-16s. The US Congress provided funds for such training in the 2023 budget.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced he had reached an agreement with Prime Minister Mark Rutte to lead an international fighter jet coalition for Ukraine. “From training to getting F-16s,” Sunak’s spokesman said. Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra denied this a day later and said the Netherlands was not that far yet. Denmark also announced immediately after Biden’s statement of support that it wanted to start training Ukrainian pilots. (AP)
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