President Joe Biden has told G7 leaders that the United States will support a coordinated effort with allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots in the use of combat aircraft, including the F-16. The White House confirms this after previous reports to this effect appeared in the American media.
The training is expected to take place entirely in Europe. However, American personnel will participate in the training with allies in Europe. It is expected that this will take several months.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will attend the G7 summit in Japan, called the decision “historic” on Twitter. Zelensky has repeatedly urged his Western allies to provide fighter jets.
US participation in the potential training does not mean that the US has already decided to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. “Since the training will take place over the next few months, the coalition of countries involved in this effort will decide if we will actually provide aircraft, how much and who will provide them,” the official told CNN.
In March, the US hosted 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 how to fly various US military aircraft, including the F-16. The US Congress has allocated funds for such training in the 2023 budget.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he is pleased with the decision. “Details will be determined in the coming weeks,” Root said on Twitter.
Rutte wrote that his British, Danish and Belgian colleagues also “welcome” the news from the United States. Ukraine can continue to count on the unwavering support of the Netherlands and its international partners.
Defense Minister Kajsa Olungren agreed with Rutte’s words. Terms are being worked out with our “closest allies” Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom. “We are ready to support Ukraine in this,” Ollongren wrote on Twitter.
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