The United States has given its green light to Western allies to supply Ukraine with F-16 jets as soon as pilot training is completed.
More specifically, the fighter jets would be supplied to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands, as revealed in a letter seen by the Reuters news agency. This action is contingent upon the conclusion of pilot training, according to a statement by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.
“I am writing to express the United States’ full support for both the transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine and for the training of Ukrainian pilots by qualified F-16 instructors,” said Blinken in the letter.
Kajsa Ollongren, Dutch Minister of Defense, also confirmed the news on platform X, formerly known as Twitter, stating “I welcome the US decision to clear the way for delivery of F-16 jets to Ukraine. It allows us to follow through on the training of Ukrainian pilots. We remain in close contact with European partners to decide on the next steps.”
In May, US President Joe Biden lent his support to training initiatives designed for Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16s.
Alongside Denmark’s involvement, plans were also underway to establish a training center in Romania. In reaction to this endorsement, Russia declared that providing F-16s to Ukraine bore a substantial risk for Western nations.
Denmark’s defense ministry announced on Friday that a consortium of 11 nations will commence training Ukrainian pilots to operate F-16 fighter jets in Denmark later this month.
Acting Danish defense minister Troels Poulsen expressed the country’s aspiration for discernible outcomes from this training by early 2024, as revealed in his statement made in July.
Shortly after the notice of the F-16 jets provision, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Olaf Reznikov announced the new security assistance package from Sweden, valued at €270 million.