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CNN: US to support F-16 training initiative for Ukrainian pilots

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 19, 2023 8:13 PM 2 min read
F-16 fighters durning military parade in Warsaw on the day of the Polish army on Aug. 15, 2018, Warsaw, Poland. (Krystian Dobuszynski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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U.S. will support a joint allies' initiative to train Ukrainian pilots on modern fighter jets, including F-16s, CNN reported, citing a senior U.S. official.

President Joe Biden informed G7 leaders about his decision at the Hiroshima summit on May 19, according to the administration official.

The training will most likely take place entirely in Europe, CNN wrote, but American personnel will participate in it alongside European partners.

"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," the official told the media outlet.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Biden's purported decision, saying it "will greatly enhance our army in the sky."

"I count on discussing the practical implementation of this decision at the G7 summit in Hiroshima," Zelensky tweeted. He is scheduled to attend the summit in person over the weekend and meet with Biden, according to Ukraine's Presidential Office head Andrii Yermak.

The prime ministers of the U.K. and the Netherlands confirmed Washington's participation in the joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots.

"The modalities will be worked out in the coming weeks. Ukraine can count on the unwavering support of the Netherlands and its international partners," Dutch PM Mark Rutte said on Twitter.

The White House hasn't officially announced the decision.

On May 16, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte agreed to build an "international coalition" to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. Earlier, the U.K. promised to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter aircraft this summer, and France also "opened the door" for such training.

Ukraine has been requesting fighters for months to defend its skies and maximize the effectiveness of its combined arms forces during a future counteroffensive.

Of all the available models, Ukraine has shown the most interest in the U.S.-built F-16, in service since the 1970s and operated by over 20 nations.

CNN: US signals to allies that it won’t block them from exporting F-16 jets to Ukraine
Sources familiar with the matter told CNN that the Biden administration has conveyed to European allies its willingness to permit them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The move comes in response to mounting pressure from Congress members and allies urging the White House to assist Ukraine in…
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