F-16 jets: Biden approves training Ukrainians

The US government has announced it will back plans to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots to fly them. Although the US itself is not willing to send jets, the decision now makes deliveries by European states a realistic option. Europe's press examines the ramifications.

Open/close all quotes
De Volkskrant (NL) /

Now get the timing right

The Netherlands, which together with Belgium, Denmark and the UK took the initiative on delivering the F-16s, must now assume responsibility, De Volkskrant notes:

“The F-16s could be a means to break the current stalemate. The Americans are not willing to deliver any aircraft themselves (yet), therefore the responsibility now lies with Europe. Now the Netherlands and other countries must organise training schemes as quickly as possible so that the F-16s can fly over Ukraine in the autumn. Unsurprisingly, a Russian deputy minister reacted to this prospect with threatening words. ... One must see this threat above all as confirmation that the F-16s could indeed make a difference.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

It's up to Europe

This decision is not a U-turn, Handelsblatt clarifies:

“US President Joe Biden continues to rule out the possibility of the US itself sending F-16 jets to Ukraine. When exactly Western fighter jets will be deployed in Ukraine, how many of them there will be and who will provide them - all these questions remain open. ... The US is shifting the responsibility to Europe according along the lines: if you want to send fighter jets, we won't stand in the way. But the real decision lies with the European governments. It is a risk assessment that Europe must now make on its own.”