Lloyd Austin, head of the Pentagon, also announced that his country will provide an aid package to Kyiv worth $ 200 million.
The United States will join the Netherlands and Denmark in an initiative that seeks to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraineas well as preparing Ukrainian pilots to fly warships.
The announcement was made by the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin. “I am proud to announce that the United States will help lead the coalition of countries working with Ukraine to develop its air force (…) I am pleased that Denmark and the Netherlands will co-lead this coalition with us”Austin said at a press conference in Brussels.
The announcement made after the sixteenth meeting of the coalition of countries assisting kyiv in the military to defend against Russian invasion.
This is the United States “Coordinating closely with Ukraine and other partners, focusing on improving the capabilities of Ukraine’s F-16 fighter jet”Austin commented.
In August, the United States agreed that American-made F-16 fighter jets could be transferred to Ukraine, after which several countries offered to transfer the aircraft to Kiev or to train their pilots in their management.
The fact that the United States will now co-lead the coalition and have greater participation will speed up the process, according to diplomatic sources.
In addition, with the North American country entering the equation, many regular contacts are expected to promote F-16 donations, organize pilot training and aircraft maintenance teams, they explained.
In any case, the US Secretary of Defense clarified that “it will take months” to provide Ukraine with “initial capability” of F-16s, which will not come until “next spring”.
Austin also added that the meeting of fifty countries supporting Ukraine, in which the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, participated in person for the first time, focused on how “Help Ukraine defend itself in the long term and deter aggression for decades to come.”
In this context, he indicated that the members of the contact group are organizing themselves into “coalitions of capabilities,” which will make “our security assistance more agile and contribute to securing the future of Ukraine.”
Some of these coalitions have already been formed, such as the aforementioned F-16 coalition and the tank coalition led by Germany, but there are others to deal with, for example, naval forces.
Estonia and Luxembourg will lead a coalition focused on supporting Ukraine’s IT infrastructure, while Lithuania will lead Ukraine’s aid to neutralize Russian propaganda on Ukrainian territory, he said.
“I am also proud to announce that the United States will join many more of these coalitions as they form in the coming weeks, including those focused on armored air defense and artillery in Ukraine.”Austin said.
The head of the Pentagon also announced today that his country will provide an aid package to kyiv worth $ 200 million, mainly for air defense and artillery.