April 21, 2024

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Zelensky praises Biden’s decision to train Ukraine on F-16s |  News of the war between Russia and Ukraine

Zelensky praises Biden’s decision to train Ukraine on F-16s | News of the war between Russia and Ukraine

President Zelensky said that training Ukrainian pilots to fly US F-16 fighter jets would “significantly strengthen our military in the sky”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has welcomed US President Joe Biden’s decision to support the training of Ukrainian pilots on US F-16 fighter jets, saying it will “significantly strengthen our military in the sky”.

Describing plans to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets as a “historic decision,” Zelensky said he would discuss the details with Biden when they meet at the G7 summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima — the Ukrainian leader’s last international trip. which was confirmed on Saturday.

“I am counting on discussing the practical implementation of this decision at the G7 summit in Hiroshima,” Zelensky said in a tweet on Twitter.

Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that Washington supports joint allies training programs for Ukrainian pilots on US F-16 fighter jets, senior US officials told the Reuters news agency.

Zelensky has for months advocated the supply of advanced fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against a Russian invasion. But the Ukrainian leader has faced rejection so far from his Western allies, who feared that providing Ukraine with advanced offensive weapons would be met with an escalation of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the spread of war in Europe.

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Now, with Ukraine improving its air defenses with an array of Western-supplied anti-aircraft systems and preparing to launch a counterattack against Russian forces, officials believe fighter jets could become useful in Ukraine’s battle with Moscow and necessary for the country for a long time. security term.

Poland and Slovakia delivered 27 old MiG-29s to Ukraine.

Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos reports that air defense experts say the US’s F-16 fighter jets will give Ukraine an edge over the Russian air force but only if it is combined with powerful missiles and targeting information, which the West will also have to provide.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his country would work with the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to “provide Ukraine the combat air capability it needs”.

Denmark also said it would help train Ukrainians to fly the F-16s, the defense minister said after Washington said it would support such an initiative.

Denmark’s acting defense minister, Trols Lund Poulsen, said that his country “will now be able to move forward with the collective contribution to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16s.” He said Denmark would prioritize working with its allies to support the plan, praising Biden’s decision to approve the plan.

Lund Poulsen did not say whether Denmark would be among those countries that will deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. The Danish Air Force has about 40 F-16s, of which about 30 are operational. It recently began delivering the most advanced F-35 fighters.

Ukraine, which does not possess any Western-designed aircraft, says the F-16s are far more effective than the Soviet-era fighters it currently deploys.

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US officials told Reuters news agency that the fighter training will take place in Europe and will take months to complete. US officials have estimated the fastest timeframe required for training and delivery of the F-16s to be around 18 months.

Biden’s green light for the F-16 training is the latest shift by the US administration as it moves to arm Ukraine with more advanced and lethal weaponry, following previous decisions to send HIMAR missile launchers, Patriots air defense systems and Abrams tanks.

The United States insisted that it was sending weapons to Ukraine for self-defense, and it also thwarted Ukraine’s attacks on Russian soil.

The G7 leaders also used the first day of their summit on Friday to unleash a new wave of global sanctions on Moscow as well as plans to boost the effectiveness of existing financial sanctions aimed at constraining Putin’s war efforts.

“Our support for Ukraine will not waver,” the G7 leaders said in a statement issued after closed-door meetings.

They promised to “stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.”

And they said, “Russia started this war and it can end this war.”