The US and its allies have agreed to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, according to an NBC News report citing a senior Biden administration official. According to the official, the jets may not necessarily come directly from the United States.
It is also unclear when Ukraine will receive the F-16s, and which countries will provide them. NBC’s source also claimed that the fighters would not be used for Ukraine’s upcoming counteroffensive against Russia. In the coming months, the US and its allies “will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide, and who will provide them,” according to the official.
News of the US providing Ukraine with the long-awaited fighter jets came after US President Joe Biden announced an agreement to train Ukrainian pilots to fly them. The training “will take place outside Ukraine at sites in Europe and will require months to complete,” the official said, adding that the training process “could start” in the coming weeks.
Ukrainian authorities have claimed that they require close to 180 fighter jets to confront Russia in the air, but at this stage, 24 to 36 are sufficient. Several countries – Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Norway – have already agreed to provide Ukraine with their F-16s. The transfer of the jets was previously hindered only by the lack of permission from the United States.