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Sullivan: US to join F-16 coalition, train pilots
The United States will train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jet fighters and cooperate with its allies to deliver the planes to Ukraine.
The national security advisor Jake Sullivan made the announcement in a press briefing on May 20, confirming the U.S. participation in the “fighter jet coalition” planned by Ukraine’s allies.
Washington did not pledge to provide its own jets, however.
The official confirmation comes after media reports from May 19 that Washington is open to training Ukrainian pilots and aiding with the F-16 transfer.
The training will unfold in the coming months. However, the allies are yet to decide which country will provide the jets, how many, or when.
In the past, U.S. President Joe Biden has rejected the possibility of supplying Ukraine with Western jet fighters such as F-16, indicating they are not necessary for Kyiv’s defense efforts at the moment.
Sullivan explained that the U.S. already helped to equip Ukraine's military sufficiently for a successful counteroffensive. Now, the partners need to focus on building Kyiv’s future deterrence capabilities, which include F-16 jet fighters.
U.K.’s Rishi Sunak and the Netherlands’ Mark Rutte agreed on May 17 to build the “jet fighter coalition”. On May 20, Portugal and Denmark also declared they will join the initiative.