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US-supplied F-16s to be stationed inside Ukraine – White House

Vladimir Zelensky and President Joe Biden had previously signed a bilateral security agreement on the fighter jets

F-16 fighter jets transferred to Kiev by Washington will be stationed on Ukrainian territory, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has announced in an interview with PBS news channel.

His comments come after US President Joe Biden and Vladimir Zelensky signed a ten-year bilateral security agreement last week, under which Washington pledged to continue backing Kiev in its conflict with Moscow.

Zelensky said after the deal was signed that the US had promised to supply Ukraine not only with weapons including Patriot air-defense systems, but also with “squadrons” of fighter jets comprising F-16s as well as other aircraft.

The US, along with Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, have pledged to provide Ukraine with up to 60 F-16 jets by the end of this year. Meanwhile, Kiev has suggested on several occasions that the Western-supplied fighters could be stationed outside Ukraine, on the territories of neighboring NATO countries where they would be “safe.”

However, Sullivan said the “plan is to put the F-16s in Ukraine,” adding that the bilateral security agreement signed by Biden and Zelensky had “reinforced this point.”

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“We want to help Ukraine have this capability. It should be a capability based in Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly warned that any Western weapons delivered to Ukraine would become legitimate targets for strikes by Russian forces and would not have any effect on the ultimate outcome of the conflict, leading only to more bloodshed.

The chair of the Russian parliament’s Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, has also warned that if any of Kiev’s F-16s are stationed outside of Ukraine and are used in combat operations against Russia, then Moscow would consider those foreign bases to be “legitimate targets.”

June 19, 2024 at 04:27PM

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