US approves F-16 deployment to Ukraine from Denmark and Netherlands

Denmark and the Netherlands have received official assurances from the United States that transfer requests for F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will be expedited once pilot training is complete, according to a U.S. official. Ukraine has been actively seeking U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to counteract Russian air superiority. 


Approval of the transfer of military jets from allied countries to Ukraine must be granted by the U.S. A coalition comprising 11 countries was scheduled to commence training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets this month in Denmark. Denmark's acting Defense Minister Troels Poulsen has expressed hope to see "results" from the training in early 2024. 

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NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands have been at the forefront of international efforts to train pilots and support staff, maintain aircraft, and ultimately enable Ukraine to obtain F-16s for use in its war with Russia. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has sent letters to his Danish and Dutch counterparts assuring them that the requests would be approved. Blinken emphasized that Ukraine must be able to defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression and violation of its sovereignty. 


President Joe Biden endorsed training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in May. A training center was to be established in Romania in addition to training in Denmark. However, Ukraine will not be able to operate U.S.-built F-16 fighter jets in the coming autumn and winter, according to Ukraine air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat. U.S. officials have privately stated that the F-16 jets would not be a game changer when they eventually arrive due to Russian air defense systems and contested skies over Ukraine.

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