U.S. Shift to Support F-16s for Ukraine Began A Month Ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III began initiating the Biden administration’s turnaround on providing Ukrainian fighter pilots with training on F-16 jets last month, after European allies told him that they wanted to go ahead with the training, a U.S. defense official said on Monday.

Mr. Austin led a meeting on April 21 of top defense officials from about 50 nations — a collective known as the Ukraine Contact Group — at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on April 21.

On his return to Washington, Mr. Austin told senior Biden administration officials that the time had come to alter the stance against the training, and to, at the very least, move toward letting other countries give the planes to Ukraine, according to the official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations. F-16s would represent a major upgrade of the Ukrainian air force’s assets and capabilities.

After Russia invaded Ukraine almost exactly 15 months…

Continue Reading →

This article was written by Helene Cooper and originally published on www.nytimes.com