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  • Writer's pictureTaher Tarraf

A significant change in Western backing for Kiev following an endorsement from the United States

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

In a significant change of stance, Western countries have agreed to provide fourth-generation fighters, including F-16s, to Kiev, following a green light from US President Joe Biden. This decision comes months after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to his Western allies for assistance.

During the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan, President Biden assured the leaders of the participating countries of his support for a collaborative initiative focused on training Ukrainian pilots on advanced fighter planes, specifically including the F-16. A senior White House official stated that the training process for Ukrainian forces on these fighter jets will take several months. Details concerning the aircraft's quantity, delivery timeline, and the participating countries will be determined in the upcoming months.

Although some NATO countries initially expressed concerns about supplying Ukraine with advanced fighters due to fears of escalating the conflict and direct confrontation with Russia, countries aligned with Kiev welcomed the idea. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed that his country, along with the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Denmark, will work together to fulfill Ukraine's combat air capabilities. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed readiness to train Ukrainian pilots but did not commit to providing aircraft.

President Zelensky, set to meet President Biden on the sidelines of the G-7 summit, hailed the American decision as a historic moment that significantly strengthens his country's aerial military capabilities.

Coinciding with the US announcement, the Group of Seven imposed new sanctions on Russia, augmenting existing US sanctions targeting the Russian economy. In response, Moscow banned the entry of 500 Americans into its territory, including former President Barack Obama.

On the ground, Ukraine announced the successful repulsion of an overnight air attack on Kiev and other areas, resulting in debris falling on the city, fires, and explosions near the vicinity of the presidential palace. Fierce battles continue in the southwestern outskirts of the city of Bakhmut, with Ukrainian forces acknowledging the progress of Russian troops in the city and their reinforcement with additional battle resources.

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