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US says F-16s to be sent to Ukraine after pilot training

Norwegian F-16. Photo: Norwegian Air Force

The United States has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands to defend against Russian invaders after completion of pilot training, a US official said, according to Reuters.

“We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote on Twitter.

“Now, we will further discuss the subject with our European partners. This marks a major milestone for Ukraine to defend its people and its country,” he added.

https://twitter.com/WBHoekstra/status/1692295222363902378

On 18 August, the Danish Defence Ministry said a coalition of 11 countries would start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 fighter jets later this month in Denmark.

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

Earlier, said John Kirby, the US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, said the United States and Europe were working to ensure that Ukrainian pilots start training on F-16 fighter jets “as soon as possible.”

Kirby says US, Europe are working to ensure that Ukrainian pilots start training on F-16 jets “as soon as possible”

Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, confirmed that F-16s would be sent to Ukraine after pilot training, as per The Guardian.

“What we did this week is formalized through a letter from Secretary Blinken to his counterparts in Europe, that upon the completion of that training, the United States would be prepared in consultation with Congress to approve third party transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine.”

The US national security adviser also affirmed the US’s position on continuing to support Ukraine.

“We’re not going to handicap the outcome. We’re not going to predict what’s going to happen because this war has been inherently unpredictable. That’s all I can say today other than I believe and have confidence in the capacity, and especially the bravery, of Ukrainian fighters to continue to make progress on the battlefield.”

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