Biden Advisor: F-16 Commitment is Not a U-Turn
Jake Sullivan has commented on the F-16 commitment decision for Ukraine. US President Biden’s National Security Advisor ruled out any potential for escalation in the conflict.
Hiroshima. The US government wants to dispel the impression that America’s support for a fighter jet coalition for Ukraine is a political U-turn.
“Nothing has changed,” said US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. The US had never taken US-type F-16 fighter jets off the table before. However, there was no time for that before.
Biden informed G7 leaders in Hiroshima on Friday that the US will support training Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including the F-16. First, pilots should be trained. Then it will be decided when and how many aircraft will be delivered and who will make them available. For months, the US government had previously rejected demands from Kiev for F-16 jets.
“Timing right from our point of view”
Sullivan said the decision on arms sales to Ukraine had been based from the outset on the necessities of the war. The US had delivered everything they had promised. It has now “reached a point where it is time to look to the future” and assess what the Ukrainian armed forces would need in the long term to deter and repel Russian aggression. And that’s where fighter jets come in.
When asked whether the lengthy training of Ukrainian pilots on the fighter jets shouldn’t have started much earlier, Sullivan said the US doesn’t think the F-16s are needed on the battlefield now, but only for the long-term deployment of Ukraine’s armed forces. “And so, from our point of view, the timing is right.” Sullivan expressly did not comment on how long the training of Ukrainian pilots would take and when a decision on a specific delivery of jets to Kiev could be made.
Asked about a possible escalation potential in the war, because such jets could possibly be used for attacks over Russian territory, Sullivan emphasized that all American arms deliveries to Ukraine are fundamentally subject to the premise that the United States does not facilitate or support any attacks on Russian soil. So far, Ukraine has clearly kept to that.
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