President Joe Biden on Friday endorsed plans to train Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 fighter jets, according to two people familiar with the matter, as he huddled with allies at the Group of Seven summit on how to bolster support for Kyiv against Russia's invasion.
The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Biden's private conversations with allies, said he announced he had approved the training, which is likely to be conducted in Europe over the coming months, during a meeting of G7 leaders in Hiroshima, where the leaders also announced new sanctions on Moscow in advance of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joining them at the summit on Sunday.
Biden told the leaders that decisions on when, how many, and who will provide the fourth-generation fighter jets for Ukraine to use in battle will be made in the months ahead while the training is underway.
Zelenskyy has consistently called for the supply of Western fighter jets to bolster his country's defences against Russia's 15-month invasion, but has until now faced skepticism from the US Under export licensing rules, the US needed to sign-off on any allied effort to train Ukrainian pilots.
European allies in recent weeks have warmed up to the notion of sending fighter jets to Ukraine, as have elements of Biden's Cabinet, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has emerged as a staunch advocate within the administration.
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