In a major boost for Kyiv, the US has agreed for its Western allies to supply Ukraine with advanced fighter jets, including American-made F-16 fighter jets. The National security adviser of the US, Jake Sullivan said that President Joe Biden “informed his G7 counterparts” of the decision at the bloc’s summit in Japan on Friday. In addition, the US troops will also train Kyiv’s pilots to use the jets. Ukraine has long sought advanced jets and President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the move as a historic decision. Mr. Sullivan told reporters that the move was a part of Washington’s long-term commitment to Ukraine’s self-defence.
The Western countries can only resell or re-export American military hardware if the US approves it, so this decision clears the way for other nations to send their existing stocks of F-16s to Ukraine. The F-16 is widely used by a number of European and Middle East nations as well as the US, which still manufactures the aircraft.
On the other hand, the NATO member countries are concerned that handing jets to Ukraine would be viewed as escalating the war, risking a direct confrontation with Russia. Previously, the US stance was more of skepticism about the modern fighter jet supplies and it has focussed instead on providing military support on land.
The US has indicated that the jets sent to Ukraine would only be used for defence purposes and that the US would neither enable nor support attacks on Russian territory. This also has another issue which is training the pilots to fly F-16 jets, a time-taking activity.
The UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark also welcomed the US move. So far no government has confirmed to send them to Kyiv.
On the other hand, the Russian state media said countries would run enormous risks if they supplied F-16s to Ukraine which will eventually escalate the situation otherwise.
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