President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the US would join in efforts to train Ukraine's pilots on fourth generation fighter jets including the F-16s, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.
This has obviously been in the planning for some time. The timing of the announcement at the G7 summit was simply chosen to maximize the propaganda value for Biden.
The process we have seen has repeated itself again and again. As pro-Ukrainian blogger (with no military knowledge) describes it:
This has clearly become a proxy war between Russia and NATO, supercharging the political considerations inherent to any war. Ukraine's goal is to wheedle as much military aid as humanly possibly out of NATO, especially the United States. The United States' goal is more complex: give enough aid to push Russia back, but not so much that its proxy war with Russia escalates into an actual one.
This dynamic has created a Hunger Games scenario where Ukraine is constantly playing to the cameras to cajole extra gifts from the wealthy sponsors who watch its every move over the internet in real time. I had decided against using this analogy until I saw Ukrainians themselves using it. There is something grotesque and sobering about finding yourself in this position, and writing about it. But it is what it is.
I had assumed that F-16 training had in fact already started several weeks back. The EU blabber mouth Josep Borrell now all but confirmed it:
The European Union's foreign policy chief said on Tuesday 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.