Wednesday, February 21, 2024

U.S. declares support for delivery of U.S.-made fighter jets to Ukraine

(BBC News) The U.S. says it will support providing advanced fighter jets including U.S.-made F-16s to Ukraine, and will back training Ukrainian pilots to fly them.

A senior White House official said President Joe Biden had told G7 leaders in Japan of the decision.

Ukraine President Volodomyr Zelensky, who has requested fighter jets for months, said the decision would “greatly enhance our army in the sky.”

U.S. approval for the scheme means other nations can export their F-16s.

This is because the U.S. legally has to approve the re-export of equipment purchased by allies.

The U.S. would “support a joint effort with our allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s, to further strengthen and improve the capabilities of the Ukrainian Air Force,” the official said.

“As the training takes place over the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide, and who will provide them.”

Ukraine has repeatedly lobbied its western allies to provide jets to help in its fight against Russia, and Zelensky welcomed what he described as a “historic decision,” adding that he looked forward to “discussing the practical implementation” of the plan at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, where he is expected to appear.

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