By John Hammon
According to a CNN article released as of Friday May 19th, President Joe Biden informed the leaders of G7 of their plans to help Ukraine. He stated that the US will support a joint effort with allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth gen aircrafts, including F-16s. This information was relayed to CNN by a senior administration official. For those who are unaware, G7 consists of a group of allied countries that hold the world’s most advanced economies, including the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, hence the name “G7.”
According to the senior administration official, the training isn’t expected to happen in the United States, and instead it will likely happen entirely within Europe. US personnel however, will participate in the training alongside allies and partners inside Europe. It is also expected that the training will take at least several months to complete and the US official stated the hope is that it will begin “in the coming weeks.”
This being President Biden’s decision shows a stark contrast in his ideas on the Ukrainian war, since he had said earlier this year that Ukraine did not need the F-16s. Officials have stated to say the decision to support the training plans came together very quickly, and that Biden made the plans following the meetings from the G7 leaders in Hiroshima, Japan.
Details of the United States specific plans were relayed to CNN by an official, in which they stated: “As the training takes place over the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide, and who will provide them.” The official also stated that G7 has focused on providing Ukraine with a majority of systems, weapons, and training required to conduct offensive operations for this spring and summer.
According to CNN, it was reported on Thursday that the Biden administration signaled to European allies in recent weeks that the United States would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The quick decision was most likely made due to the increasing pressure from congress and allies to help Ukraine in their efforts against intensifying Russian aerial attacks.