Biden Takes Major Step Against Russia

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The White House has decided that it will train Ukrainian fighter pilots for the new F-16s in Arizona. Ukraine received the multi-role combat aircraft from Danish and Dutch stocks, who in turn want to accelerate the acquisition of the next-gen F-35.

Ukraine’s new focus on aviation is in line with NATO doctrine. Being able to strike fro the air, rather than solely relying on artillery and ground missiles, could give the Ukrainian military a new advantage. The Hill reports:

U.S. military personnel will train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Ariz., in October, according to the Pentagon’s top spokesperson.

Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the pilots will first receive English instruction at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, next month in an effort to boost their fluency to the level needed to fly the planes.

This new development coincides with the recent death of Prigozhin. Russia’s position in Africa is now in flux, as is the negotiations for the Black Sea grain deal brokered by Turkey. CNBC continues:

Meantime, President Vladimir Putin broke his silence over the presumed death of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, describing him a “talented businessman” and offering condolences to his family some 24 hours after the plane he was believed to be travelling on crashed into flames while en route from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to hold in-person talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan soon, as Ankara seeks to mediate a return to the Black Sea grain deal that Moscow exited last month.

Ukraine’s newfound reliance on air power is a gamble for Kyiv. Its Air Force survived the initial Russian onslaught in February 2022. However, advanced air defenses on both sides have made air sorties costly, unlike the American experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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