EU welcomes US’s F-16 jet decision for Ukraine; pilots already being trained

US Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly over the Osan US Airbase during a combined air force exercise with the United States and South Korea in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, December 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)
US Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly over the Osan US Airbase during a combined air force exercise with the United States and South Korea in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, December 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

The European Union’s foreign policy chief says that the US green light to allow Ukrainian pilots to get training to fly F-16s has created an inexorable momentum that will inevitably bring the fighter jets to the Ukrainian battlefield.

“You know, it’s always the same thing: we discuss, at the beginning everybody is reluctant,” says Josep Borrell, giving the example of the long debate and initial opposition to the dispatch of advanced Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine.

“And at the end — with the Leopards, with the F-16 at the end — the decision comes to provide this military support because it is absolutely needed.”

Borrell adds that training for Ukrainian pilots had already begun in Poland and some other countries, though authorities in Warsaw couldn’t immediately confirm the news. The Netherlands and Denmark, among others, are also making plans for such training.

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