US Approves Sending F-16s To Ukraine

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The United States has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands to defend against Russian invaders as soon as pilot training is completed, a U.S. Official has said.

Ukraine has actively sought the U.S.  made F-16 fighter jets to help it counter Russian air superiority.

Washington gave Denmark and the Netherlands official assurances that the United States will expedite approval of transfer requests for F-16s to go to Ukraine when the pilots are trained, the Official said.

“We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Now, we will further discuss the subject with our European partners.”

Denmark also said providing Ukraine with the jets would now be discussed.

“The government has said several times that a donation is a natural next step after training.

We are discussing it with close allies, and I expect we will soon be able to be more concrete about that,” Danish Defence Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said.

A coalition of 11 countries was due to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 fighter jets this month in Denmark.

Denmark’s Acting Defense Minister, Troels Poulsen said in July that the country hoped to see “results” from the training in early 2024.

NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands have been leading international efforts to train pilots as well as support staff, maintain aircraft and ultimately enable Ukraine to obtain F-16s for use in its war with Russia.

U.S. President Joe Biden endorsed training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in May.

In addition to training in Denmark, a training center was to be set up in Romania.

U.S. Officials have privately said that F-16 jets would have been of little help to Ukraine in its current counteroffensive and will not be a game changer when they eventually arrive given Russian air defense systems and contested skies over Ukraine.

 

REUTERS


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