Redlines are falling one after another… Biden opens the way for F16 delivery to Ukraine by other countries

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The US President Joe Biden has shown willingness to allow other countries to supply Ukraine with much-demanded F16 fighter jets, a decision Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described as historic.

Zelensky will meet his US counterpart in the coming days during the G7 summit in Hiroshima, according to what his office manager announced Friday.

Andrei Yermak said that the two presidents will discuss a series of issues, including the international coalition for the delivery of fighters, thanks to which Ukraine will be able very soon to obtain everything it needs to protect our airspace, cities and citizens.

This comes as Ukrainian forces prepare for their long-awaited spring offensive.

A senior White House official said that Biden, who is participating in the G7 summit in Japan, assured his interlocutors of his support for a joint initiative aimed at training Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation combat aircraft, including F16 fighters.

Biden, who manages the Western response to Russia, is facing increasing pressure to allow the sending of American Lockheed Martin fighters to Ukraine, not by the United States, but by other countries that own them.

The delivery of these aircraft through another country is subject to prior approval from Washington, and specifically to permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to protect US military technology.

“During the period during which the training will take place in the coming months, the coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when and how many aircraft to provide and by whom,” the official said.

This formulation, which includes the word “when” and not “if” it will be delivered, is the strongest signal yet from the United States for the delivery of these planes that Kiev desperately demands.

The US announcement was quickly welcomed by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, his Belgian counterpart Alexander de Croo and Dutch Defense Minister Kaisa Ollongren.

Denmark also announced that it would train Ukrainian pilots on F16s.

Zelensky has been asking his Western allies for months to provide him with aircraft that would allow the Ukrainian army to strike Russian forces in depth, but without this constituting a magic solution to the conflict.

“The training will take place outside Ukraine at sites in Europe and will continue for months,” the senior official said, hoping that “this training will begin in the coming weeks.”

On Friday, Sunak welcomed the US announcement, saying that Britain will work with the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to provide the air support that Ukraine needs, welcoming the American support.

On Tuesday, Britain called for an “international coalition” aimed at supplying the Ukrainian army with combat aircraft.

As for Poland, which owns F16s, it had previously announced that it would be ready to supply Ukraine with them, and so did the Netherlands, which, like a number of NATO countries, replaced its fleet of F16s with the latest version, the F35.

Currently, it’s out of the question for the United States to take this decision itself, but allowing other countries to do so constitutes a major turning point in the Western response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022.

The White House has continued to adjust its stance since the war began.

Thus, the White House recently allowed sending American tanks to Ukraine, which was for a long time a taboo subject to be discussed in Washington.

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