For weeks there have been rumors and widespread reports that the United States is close to starting a formal training program for Ukrainian pilots in order to better combat superior Russian aerial forces. But amid the weapons bonanza being offered and shipped from Washington to Kiev, it was also reported that fighter jets were never on the table - not even from allies.
This is particularly so after in March a proposal for Poland to send its own MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine, which Ukrainian pilots are already trained on, fell through in a bizarre and somewhat diplomatically embarrassing way, given Warsaw prematurely claimed the White House had agreed to replace its donated MiGs with F-16 jets. The Biden administration then rejected that any agreement was made, and the whole fighter jets for Ukraine initiative appeared shelved. But now fresh words from Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall have revived speculation the Biden administration is intensely mulling jet transfers.
"Despite previous reports to the contrary, the United States is indeed considering sending fighter jets to Ukraine and training their pilots how to fly them, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall says," reports Newsmax based on his revealing words before the Aspen Security Forum this week.
He stressed that while the "right now problem" remains ground-based fighting particularly in the East, creating an urgent need for more artillery and heavy gun systems, Ukraine's military will soon need better aerial assets to stave off Russia's assault.
"We'll be open to discussions with them about what their requirements are and how we might be able to satisfy them," Kendall said, before saying it remains "largely up to Ukraine" to decide what type of aircraft would meet its needs.
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.