The president of United States, Joe Bidenannounced at the G7 summit that his government will support the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets that could be supplied to kyiv to resist a Russian invasion, a senior White House official said on Friday.
Biden, who is participating in the G7 summit of Western powers in Japan, said the United States “will support a joint effort” with its allies “to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation combat aircraft, including F-16s, to further strengthen and improve the capabilities of the Ukrainian Air Force,” the official said.
“As the training unfolds in the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to provide planes, how many we will provide and who will provide them”, he added.
This is the strongest indication to date from the United States, of the possible delivery of these devices to kyiv.
“I welcome the historic decision by the US and Joe Biden to support an international coalition of fighter jets. This will greatly improve our army in the sky. I look forward to discussing the practical application of this decision at the G7 summit in Hiroshima,” Zelensky tweeted.
Ukraine demands from its western allies the delivery of planes to reconquer areas taken by Russia, which invaded the country in February 2022.
Western countries have so far refused to do so, but the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunakand that of the Netherlands, mark ruttepledged on Tuesday to build a “international coalition” to provide support to Ukraine with combat aircraft.
The delivery of the fighters F-16made in the United States, requires authorization from Washington.
The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, expressed his satisfaction with the announcement of the Biden government’s accession to that coalition.
Is about “a historic decision”which will “strengthen our armed forces” in Ukrainian airspace, the Ukrainian president tweeted.
Sunak also welcomed the announcement.
“The UK will work with the US, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to give Ukraine the combat capability it needs, he said.
Sunak said on Monday Britain was in the process of opening an aviation school to train Ukrainian pilots, and French President Emmanuel Macron had also offered to do so but ruled out sending warplanes to Kiev.
(With information from AFP)
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