President Biden told U.S. allies on Friday that he would allow Ukrainian pilots to train on U.S.-made aircraft. F-16 fighteris moving towards allowing other countries to donate aircraft to Ukraine – a major upgrade and sharp turnaround for the Ukrainian military.
Kiev officials have been begging for state-of-the-art fighter jets to overcome Russia’s air superiority since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine 15 months ago.but Biden resistedfeared the jets could be used to hit targets deep inside Russia, and the Kremlin could escalate the conflict. Pentagon officials say other weapons, especially air defense weapons, are more urgently needed and the F-16’s high cost could weigh on other weapons.
But several European countries that are members of the NATO alliance and have F-16s are calling for international efforts to provide training and relocation of their fighters to Ukraine. Since the weapons were originally sold to them by the United States, they would need US permission to do so. While not America’s most advanced fighter jet, the F-16 has powerful radar that can spot targets hundreds of miles away, along with the latest missiles and other technology that U.S. officials don’t want duplicated or falling into enemy hands. Installed.
Biden told other leaders of the G7 nations, the world’s richest democracies, at a summit in Hiroshima, Japan, about his decision on pilot training, paving the way for the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine. cut open.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in Hiroshima on Saturday morning that the United States and its allies will discuss ways to supply their own fighter jets to Kiev in the coming months. At least under current plans, the US is not expected to send its own F-16s.
“We welcome the historic decision of the United States and its president to support the International Fighter Union. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter.
of Joint statementAllied leaders said they were committed to “continuing security assistance to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression and tailoring assistance to Ukraine’s needs.” The group pledged to “provide Ukraine with the financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic assistance it needs, as long as it is needed.”
Earlier on Friday, Zelensky addressed the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he challenged the neutral stance taken by many Arab countries on the war, calling Ukrainians “out of the cages of Russian prisons.” “I asked for your cooperation to save me.
“Unfortunately, there are people in the world and here among you who turn a blind eye to these cages and illegal annexations,” he said. “I’m here so that everyone can have an honest look at whatever influence the Russians are trying to exert.”
Japan’s foreign ministry said Zelensky will attend the summit in Hiroshima on Saturday and address G7 leaders.
Ukraine is expected to launch a major counterattack soon, aiming to recapture more territory than Russia seized early in the war. Delivery of the fighter is months away, too late to affect its plans.
G7 leaders in Hiroshima spent most of the day discussing the coming counterattack and the possibility of bringing Russia to the negotiating table to discuss some form of truce that would stop the fighting, even if it didn’t solve the core issues. . war.
They are also poised to announce a slew of new sanctions and export controls to further tighten the Kremlin’s war-financing capacity and to crack down on third countries secretly supplying Russia with usable banned technology. weapon system.
While Russian President Vladimir V. Putin appears to be betting that interest and commitment to Ukraine will wane, the allies seem determined to show a united determination to help Ukraine.
Biden’s shift in attitude toward the F-16 is the latest move he has made to allow Ukraine to deploy advanced weapons such as the HIMARS rocket launcher, the Patriot air defense missile system and the Abrams tank. In each case the president initially refused, but changed his mind under pressure from European allies.
Pentagon officials have consistently said they do not believe Ukraine needs the F-16 at this stage of the conflict.
Celeste A. Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told the House Armed Services Committee last month that the Western state-of-the-art fighter jet was only “around eighth” on Ukraine’s priority list. He said officials are focusing on resources with “the highest priority capabilities: air defense, artillery and armor.”
But Ukraine and its supporters’ push for the F-16 in Congress has intensified this week. Yahoo News reported An internal U.S. Air Force assessment concluded that training a Ukrainian pilot to operate a fighter jet would take just four months, far shorter than previously cited by Pentagon officials.
The document, which was confirmed by senior Air Force officials and said it was shared with several NATO allies that fly the F-16, includes detailed assessments conducted in late February and early March at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona. was included. The F-16 received “no formal training” other than a short familiarization, followed by several hours of flight simulator testing, according to the assessment.
Mr Zelensky’s attendance at the G7 would be a strong backlash against Mr Putin and a reminder of just how thoroughly relations with Russia have soured. 30 years agoAs President Clinton promised to seek the abolition of Cold War sanctions, he met with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Japan to chart Russia’s integration into the world economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Five years later Russia joins Group 8.
Everything has now been reversed. After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it was suspended from the group, and three years later it left altogether. The Russian economy has struggled under sanctions imposed since last year’s invasion, especially caps on oil sales prices, and more sanctions are likely to follow.
The UK announced on Friday that enforce the ban About Russian diamonds, copper, aluminum and nickel.Australia too Said On Friday, it imposed new financial sanctions targeting 21 entities and three individuals, including Russia’s largest gold company, oil and steel companies and defense firms.
The United States also deployed “”.complete package‘ includes restrictions such as banning an additional 70 companies from U.S. exports and adding more than 200 individuals and entities to sanctions lists. The measures are aimed at cracking down on individuals and companies that help Russia evade existing sanctions.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement on Friday that the new sanctions would “further clamp down on President Putin’s ability to carry out barbaric aggression and strengthen global efforts to thwart Russia’s attempts to evade sanctions.” It will move forward,” he said.
As the United States plans to extend sanctions to target more sectors of the Russian economy and attack the means of obtaining semiconductors and other high-tech products from G7 countries, U.S. officials said on Friday that Russia’s weapons-making capacity could be threatened. He said these were extremely important. In a release, Secretary of State Anthony J. Brinken said the new sanctions would target parts needed to build the drones Russia currently has in Ukraine.
The new penalties also aim to squeeze Russia’s oil and gas drilling capacity and squeeze venture capitalists and financial services firms that U.S. officials say are backing sanctioned Russian companies.
Goods that Western companies are currently prohibited from selling to Russian buyers often reach Russian buyers through intermediaries. Changes in Powers, Jurisdiction and Free Trade Zones More than once. This trade is difficult to track and hard to police, especially for “dual-use” goods that have both civilian and military uses.
While many of Russia’s other sources of income have been weighed down by previous sanctions, government officials still look to diamonds as a lucrative deal to finance Russia’s wars. Russia is world’s largest supplier Exporting over $4.5 billion in 2021, this gemstone is the top non-energy export by value.
Victoria Kim Contributed to the report from Seoul.