Biden supports F-16 pilot training program for Ukraine

President Joe Biden has pledged to assist Ukraine in training its pilots on modern fighter jets, including American-made F-16s, during a closed-door meeting at the Group of Seven Summit in Hiroshima. The training program will take place over several months outside of Ukraine in Europe and could begin in the next few weeks. The U.S. participation in the program could indicate that Washington is closer to arming Ukraine with the aircraft. However, the countries participating in the effort will decide when to provide the jets, how many Ukraine will get, and which nations would supply them.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been on a whirlwind tour of European capitals to keep the pressure on foreign partners to provide modern jets to fight back against Russia. However, many have been hesitant to do so for fear of being drawn more actively into the war and because they fear it could spill over into NATO territory. The U.S. is already training a few Ukrainian pilots on U.S. soil.

To date, the Biden administration has declined to provide the planes, opting to focus military aid on the weapons it says that Ukraine will need for offensive operations this spring and summer. Biden offered his endorsement of the training program during the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where the leaders of the world's most powerful democracies are holding talks. Zelenskyy is expected to attend the G-7 summit in person on Sunday.


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