During the G7 summit in Japan, US President Joe Biden informed leaders that the United States would back a collaborative endeavor to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, according to sources familiar with the matter, as reported by The Associated Press and CNN.
Ukraine aims to bolster its military strength by conducting its most significant advance in months against Russia and believes that the F-16s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, offer superior capabilities compared to its current fleet of Soviet-era jets.
Sources indicated that decisions regarding the timing, quantity, and providers of the F-16s will be made in the coming months while the training program is underway. The training itself will reportedly take place in Europe.
Notably, the initiative focuses on strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities without provoking an escalation of the conflict by avoiding the deployment of assets capable of deep strikes into Russian territory.
The announcement coincided with the unveiling of coordinated actions by the US and its allies to impose tighter restrictions on individuals and companies involved in Russia’s war effort. The US Treasury Department sanctioned over 125 people and organizations across 20 countries, primarily targeting those evading sanctions related to technology procurement for the Kremlin. Additionally, the US Commerce Department added 71 companies to its own restricted list.
Furthermore, new reporting requirements were introduced for entities holding Russian Central Bank assets. The objective is to comprehensively identify the extent of Russia’s sovereign assets held in G7 jurisdictions, which will remain frozen until Russia assumes responsibility for the damage inflicted on Ukraine, as stated in a Treasury Department release.