A US official announced on Thursday that the Biden administration has approved the sending of American F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands.
According to Reuters, the US gave official assurances to Denmark and the Netherlands that an expedited approval of transfer requests for F-16 jets to go to Ukraine would be given as soon as pilots are trained.
"We welcome Washington's decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine," Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.
"Now, we will further discuss the subject with our European partners."
Danish defence minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said on Friday, "The government has said several times that a donation is a natural next step after training. We are discussing it with close allies, and I expect we will soon be able to be more concrete about that."
The Danish defence ministry said that a coalition of 11 countries will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the jets in Denmark later this month.
In 2022, Biden said of sending US jets into Ukraine, "that’s called World War III," rejecting Poland’s offer at the time to transfer 28-Soviet-designed MiG-29s after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Poland had a "green light."
"The idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews — just understand, don’t kid yourself, no matter what y’all say, that’s called World War III," Biden said.
In January, was asked if he would send F-16s to Ukraine, and responded simply "no."
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, has continued to insist that the planes be given, and as with almost all that Zelensky has asked for Biden relented.
In March, Ukrainian fighter pilots were trained on F-16 simulators in Arizona, allowing "us to better help Ukrainian pilots become more effective pilots and better advise them on how to develop their own capabilities," a defense official said at the time.
By May, Biden had authorized sending F-16s to Ukraine from G7 allies who had their own stock of jets.
Russia has warned that they saw this move as a US and allied escalation in the ongoing conflict.
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