Ukraine continues to push for US-made F-16 fighter jets over refusals from the Biden administration, which insists it could take months, if not years, to train Ukrainian pilots to fly and maintain the highly technical aircraft.
Last month, after Poland announced it would send four of its Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, Slovakia pledged to send 13 of its own, though many are old and would simply be used for spare parts for its own planes. Ukraine. Monday has the Slovak Defense Minister Jaro Nadsaid the jets were “safely handed over” to Ukraine.
Last week, Poland was allowed to send five additional MiG-29s to Ukraine that were inherited from East Germany during the Cold War and needed Berlin’s blessing to export.
But Ukraine still wants the F-16s, which have advanced radar that can spot targets hundreds of miles away, potentially allowing pilots to fire their weapons while keeping a safe distance from Russian air defense weapons.
On Friday, General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was also at the Allied meeting in Germany, was asked if the United States had changed its mind about supplying Ukraine with the fighter jets. He noted that Ukraine’s air defense system had been operating effectively for more than a year, keeping the Russian air force “cautious”.
Ensuring the rigor of that air defense system “is the most critical thing right now,” he said.
But Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who was in Washington last week, urged the Biden administration to allow other countries that have bought F-16s from the United States to transfer them to Kiev. to take. This is currently not possible without re-export permits from the United States.
“Every day that the decision is delayed, Ukrainians are losing their lives,” Ms. Ustinova told reporters from Germany’s Marshall Fund in Washington.