Afghan Voice Agency (AVA) - Monitoring: US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that Washington would support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots and later equip the country’s air force with F-16s and other fourth-generation fighter jets, a US official said.
The US shift is a diplomatic victory for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who will push for more military support as he attends the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
Zelensky welcomed the “historic decision” of the White House. “This will greatly strengthen our military in the sky,” he said on Twitter.
Washington sees the effort as part of ensuring Ukraine has what it needs to strengthen its capabilities and defend itself in the long term. It is unlikely that the US will provide its F-16s to Kiev.
“As the training takes place in the coming months, our coalition of nations participating in this effort will decide when to actually get the jets, how many and who will provide them,” a senior administration official said.
Denmark to train Ukrainian F-16 pilots
Meanwhile, Denmark will help train Ukrainian pilots on the US-made F-16 fighter jet, the country’s defense minister said Friday after Washington announced its support for such an initiative.
Denmark’s acting defense minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, said the Scandinavian country “will now be able to move for a collective participation to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16.”
He added that Denmark will prioritize cooperation with its allies to support the plan and welcomed Biden’s decision to approve the scheme.
Lund Poulsen, however, did not mention whether Denmark will be among the countries that will provide fighter jets to Ukraine or not.
The Danish Air Force has about 40 F-16s, of which about 30 are operational. The country recently began taking delivery of newer F-35 fighters.