Starting in September, Ukrainians can train in the U.S. to learn how to fly F-16s. This was announced by the US Department of Defense. With this, President Joe Biden, who had been very wary of F-16s, suddenly gave them extra gas, says BNR’s foreign commentator Bernard Hummelberg.
It took Biden months to get NATO allies to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. An agreement was reached last week, so now the US is also following suit in offering these training courses. Previously, the US did not rule out providing training if Europe lacked sufficient capacity, and now the US Department says it is starting it as a precaution.
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It’s a strange turn the US president has made, Hammelburg says. According to him, the fact that Biden is in a hurry now may have to do with next year’s US election.
“With the exception of Donald Trump, many mainstream Republicans are not interested in continuing to support Ukraine,” he says. “Biden will think: What more needs to be done in terms of aid, needs to be done now.”
Netherlands and Denmark
News emerged on Sunday that the Netherlands and Denmark will jointly supply F-16s to Ukraine. They jointly lead a group of NATO countries to teach Ukrainians to fly fighter jets. Outgoing Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren reckons the whole process will take about six to eight months, she said yesterday on the Op1 project.
USA offers training courses in the state of Arizona. “There are still some jobs to speak the language because those pilots need to be able to speak English well, especially the mechanics,” says Hummelberg. ‘Ukrainian pilots will receive language lessons immediately.’
Besides the Dutch, Danes and Americans, the British are also training pilots, Hammelburg says, while they don’t even have F-16s.
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