Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed his enthusiasm and gratitude for United States President Joe Biden’s decision to support the training of Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 fighter jets. Zelenskyy views this as a significant development that will greatly enhance Ukraine’s aerial capabilities.
The Ukrainian president announced plans to train pilots on F-16 jet fighters, and he’s hoping to discuss the details with President Biden during their meeting at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
According to senior US officials who spoke to Reuters, President Biden informed G7 leaders on Friday that Washington is fully supportive of joint training programs for Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 fighter jets.
Zelenskyy has persistently advocated for the supply of advanced fighter jets to fortify Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s invasion. However, until now, his Western allies had been hesitant to provide Ukraine with advanced offensive weapons due to concerns over potential escalation by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the expansion of the conflict in Europe.
With Ukraine having significantly bolstered its air defense systems through the acquisition of anti-aircraft systems from Western sources, and as it prepares to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces, officials believe that the inclusion of fighter jets will prove instrumental in Ukraine’s battle against Moscow, thereby ensuring the country’s long-term security.
In recent developments, Poland and Slovakia have transferred 27 older MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, further contributing to its air force capabilities.
Air defense experts, including Al Jazeera’s John Psaropoulos, have highlighted the potential advantage that US-built F-16 fighter jets would offer Ukraine over the Russian air force. However, they emphasize that the full utilization of this advantage would require the combination of these fighter jets with powerful missiles and targeting information, which would need to be provided by the Western allies.
Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy has warmly welcomed President Biden’s decision to support the training of Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 fighter jets. This development is seen as a pivotal moment that will significantly enhance Ukraine’s army in the sky. As Ukraine prepares to counter Russian forces, the inclusion of fighter jets, along with other air defense systems, is believed to be crucial for the country’s ongoing battle and long-term security. Collaboration with Western allies will be essential in providing the necessary missiles and targeting information to maximize the effectiveness of these fighter jets. The international community eagerly awaits the discussions between Zelenskyy and Biden at the G7 Summit, which will shed further light on the practical implementation of this historic decision.