Biden backs F-16 training for Ukraine -source
STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden told a summit of world leaders on Friday that Washington will back allied efforts to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets.
That's according to a senior administration official, who said training on the U.S.-made jets will take place in Europe and will require months to complete.
The official did not say which countries would be participating in the effort but added that the U.S. hopes to begin the training in the coming weeks.
Biden's support of the training, conveyed at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, is welcome news to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksiy who is set to join the conference this weekend.
Zelenskiy has long sought Western-designed air power to defend Ukraine against Russia's invading forces.
Ukraine says F-16s are far more effective than the Soviet-era fighters it currently has.
Poland and Slovakia have handed over 27 MiG-29 jets to supplement Ukraine's current fleet.
NATO governments have supplied Ukraine with tanks, artillery and air defense but have been wary of contributing fighter jets, worried about leaving their own countries undefended.
They have also avoided sending anything that could strike deep into Russian territory and give Moscow a reason to escalate the war.
Zelenskiy received pledges this week from Britain and the Netherlands to help build a "jets coalition," although leaders from both countries stopped short of saying they will send jets.