US approves transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands
The United States has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands after Ukrainian pilots have completed training.
Reuters reports about this with reference to an unnamed US official.
These US-made fighter jets are essential for Ukraine’s defense against Russian invaders.
According to the official, the United States has given 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. Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren welcomed the decision and said that her country would make a decision on this in the near future in consultation with European partners.
Denmark and the Netherlands, which lead a coalition to train Ukrainian pilots, have recently asked the United States for such assurances.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent letters to his Danish and Dutch counterparts assuring them that the requests would be approved, the US official said.
“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,” Blinken said in a letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.
He said that it remained critical that Ukraine was able to defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression and violation of its sovereignty.
The Secretary of State also emphasized that the approval of the requests would allow Ukraine to take “full advantage of its new capabilities as soon as the first set of pilots complete their training”.
As previously reported, on August 11, John Kirby, US Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House, said that the United States was open to training Ukrainian military pilots on F-16 multi-role fighter jets on its soil.
He also noted that Ukraine’s acquisition of the F-16s would be a multi-stage process and the United States was committed to helping its allies “move this process forward as quickly as possible”.
As Militarnyi previously reported, a coalition of 11 countries is to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets in August. Ukrainian pilots, technicians, and support staff will take part in the training program. However, so far there have been no reports of the beginning of such exercises.
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