The fighters will come from European nations which have an “extra,” Jake Sullivan has mentioned
Kiev will “possible” get F-16 fighter jets from Washington’s allies in Europe who might have some to spare, US Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan mentioned on Wednesday. Whereas many NATO nations have supplied to coach Ukrainian pilots, up to now none have pledged to ship precise airplanes.
“On the F-16 fighter jets, President [Joe] Biden took the choice some weeks in the past, working in shut session with allies, to start the coaching of Ukrainian pilots on these jets,” Sullivan instructed Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos from Vilnius, Lithuania, the place he’s attending the NATO summit.
“That coaching will take a while, after which there would be the switch of F-16s, possible from European nations which have extra F-16 provides,” Sullivan added.
The fighter jet was designed within the Nineteen Seventies by Normal Dynamics, and is at present in restricted manufacturing by Lockheed Martin.
On Tuesday, Denmark introduced a “coalition” that can deal with the coaching of Ukrainian pilots on the US-made jets, beginning in August. It is going to be led by Denmark and the Netherlands, and in addition consists of Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the UK and Sweden. About half the nations concerned don’t really function the F-16, whereas none of those who do have publicly dedicated to sending any to Kiev.
Talking with the US authorities outlet Radio Svoboda, Ukrainian International Minister Dmitry Kuleba mentioned the coaching “ought to start someday in August, presumably early September.” Ideally, he mentioned, the primary F-16s piloted by Ukrainians will fly “by the tip of the primary quarter of subsequent yr.”
“However we have to prepare engineers, technicians, we have to put together the infrastructure. There are a lot of particulars, so the schedule might shift,” Kuleba added.
Moscow has repeatedly urged the US and its allies to cease “pumping” Ukraine with weapons, saying it received’t have an effect on the end result of the battle however solely improve the danger of a direct confrontation. In Might, Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned that sending F-16s to Ukraine could be “an unacceptable escalation” and warned the West towards “enjoying with hearth.”
Final month, President Vladimir Putin predicted that F-16s “will burn” identical to the Western tanks equipped to Kiev, and mentioned that Russia will discover methods to strike at websites outdoors Ukraine if the jets find yourself being based mostly there. The only-engine fighter requires pristine runways that Ukraine doesn’t possess, resulting in hypothesis that they may be flown from neighboring NATO nations.