White House explains why Biden changed his mind on F-16

In a dramatic reversal of policy, the USA will start with training F-16 pilots and work out a roadmap of who, when, and how many jets will be delivered in the coming months.

Speaking to journalists in Japan, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained that US President Joe Biden had lifted his long-standing objection to supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets because he believes in equipping the country for a long-term fight against Russia, and because the F-16s were not on the list of Ukraine’s first-need items.

“Now that we have delivered everything we said we were going to deliver so we put the Ukrainians in a position to make progress on the battlefield through the counteroffensive, we’ve reached a moment where it is time to look down the road and to say, ‘What is Ukraine going to need as part of a future force to be able to deter and defend against Russian aggression as we go forward?’” Sullivan said, one day after the US signalled to allies it would allow the reexport of their American-made F16s to Ukraine.

He explained that the US approach to providing weapons to Ukraine followed the stages of the conflict: during the first phase, when Russians were bearing down on Kyiv, Ukraine needed Stingers and Javelin anti-tank weapons; during the “second phase” of a “ground fight in Donbas,” the Ukrainians needed artillery and M777 144 ammunition; after that, Ukraine was in need of “what it needed to be able to launch a counteroffensive this summer” and so the US supplied Bradley IFVs, HIMARS and artillery ammunition.

The F-16s “are not part of the mix” of weapons that Ukraine needs to launch a counteroffensive, Sullivan said, and F16 capabilities were “not at the top of the list,” Sullivan said.

He confirmed that the US will participate in a joint effort of Ukraine’s allies to train Ukrainian pilots to use fourth-generation fighter jets, including F-16s.

“As the training unfolds in the coming months, we will work with our allies to determine when planes will be delivered, who will be delivering them, and how many,” he clarified.

Biden’s turn of mind follows months of the USA’s rejection of Ukraine’s pleas for F16, which led to a movement of a fighter jet coalition amid Ukraine’s allies. According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, the F16 hesitation was driven by the same reasons for Western hesitation on other advanced weapons: the fear of provoking Russia to escalate. However, according to the New York Times, the hefty price tag that comes with the planes was also part of the reason for the hesitation.

Just three days ago, Politico reported that the USA was resisting the European push to create a fighter jet coalition for Ukraine, and on 17 May, the Dutch Foreign Minister said there was no progress on creating the coalition, with the main problem being where the jets could be sourced: it was believed that only the USA had stocks sufficient for Ukraine’s needs. One possible solution was for the USA would allow allies to reexport their F-16s to Ukraine, and yesterday, it was reported that America signaled to allies it would not object to this.

Currently, the UK, The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Portugal, and the USA have said they are ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F16s.

Biden’s reluctance to give the jets a green light had come under the scrutiny of Congress and in March, he faced bipartisan pressure to supply the F16s.

Although some NATO allies believed it would take years to train Ukrainian pilots to use the F16s, an American assessment of Ukrainian fighter pilots has revealed they would be ready to fly F-16 jets after fewer than six months of training.

Earlier, F16 legend Dan Hampton had offered a solution to circumvent the time it would take to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16s. He suggested that Western private pilots be allowed to pilot F-16s in Ukraine, and he even offered to defend Ukrainian skies personally.


  1. This is nothing but BS by the WH. Had the Ukrainian pilots started training in January, they would be ready to fly F16s now. This is what they said in January.

    “Washington has so far rebuffed calls to send F-16s, fearing the move could be escalatory, though some American officials have recently expressed openness to discussing the matter.”

  2. This is typical White House baloney. Biden and his staff fucked up, as usual. This backward procedure has been ongoing since before the war started. No, maybe, yes … no, maybe, yes … no, maybe yes … no, maybe, yes…
    Now, Ukraine is in a bind, I’m sure of it. Will they wait for the planes before commencing the offensive, or will they go ahead without them? Neither option is an ideal one. What would you do? This is so fucked up!

    • The Ukrainians say that they need air-to-air missiles with a range of at least 150 km, in order to achieve air superiority. Storms are air to ground and are launched from Ukrainian MiGs and SU’s.

  3. First no to patriots, then yes. First no to Leopards, then yes. First no to F-16’s, then yes. Save us time and send B-52’s and nukes via express. Annoying…

  4. A well-connected Ukrainian on social media in Canada said :

    “Storms are already effectively applied! Glory to Great Britain!

    We need many air-to-air missiles with a range of at least 150 km.

    F16’s : a very big topic of conversation and it has several directions. Why f-16? Is it justified? The only advantage of this aircraft lies in air superiority. For this we do not need F-16s, but rather good air-to-air missiles and they are easy to adapt to Ukrainian aircraft.

    In addition to pilots, it is necessary to teach the engineering staff how to properly maintain the f-16, and repairs are generally not possible within Ukraine! Perhaps this is part of the program for integrating Ukraine into NATO and moving away from Soviet weapons. In any case, this is a very long process that requires good preparation and study.

    An airplane is not a tank, it is impossible to stop it in the air and see what is under its hood.

    Now we are also considering the use of other aircraft, cheaper and no less efficient.”

  5. Interesting that Jake Sullivan gave the reason. The same guy in Obama’s term that gave blankets when we attacked in 2014. I knew they’d come up with some bullshit. I’d be far more forgiving if he just said, “we fucked up”. Give them more credibility next time.

  6. A Loud G.O.P. Minority Pledges to Make Trouble on Ukraine Military Aid

    Hawkish senior Republicans aside, there is evidence to suggest that the anti-Ukraine flank of the party is playing not to the fringe but to the heart of its base.

    A survey last month of registered voters by Kristen Soltis Anderson’s Echelon Insights found that 52 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not think U.S. interests are at stake in Ukraine. Similarly, a survey in March conducted by Axios/Ipsos found that 57 percent of Republicans opposed providing weapons and financial support to Ukraine.

    “If you look at where the political energy is within the Republican Party right now, I’d say it’s with what I call the Tucker Carlson/Viktor Orban/Donald Trump wing of the party,” said Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, referring to the bombastic former Fox News host and the autocratic prime minister of Hungary. “And among that group, there are some very influential voices, starting with Trump, who believe that the idea of ‘America first’ translates into America retreating from the rest of the world.”

    Matt Gaetz said, “I think that it’s preposterous to lash the future of the United States of America to the future of Ukraine. Quality of life doesn’t fundamentally change for my constituents based on which guy in a track suit runs Crimea.”

    “I think Trump has made clear that he supports Putin and other authoritarian leaders,” Ms. Lofgren said, referring to a recent CNN town hall with Mr. Trump. “You saw how he refused to say he wants Ukraine to win the war.”

    Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vociferous foe of assisting Ukraine and a Trump loyalist, said “I’ll be speaking at many of the Trump rallies, and you can bet that I’ll be heavily messaging against the war in Ukraine and anyone who’s funding it. And I guarantee you that’s going to be moving the needle.”


        • It depends on how you use them. When you are using them to divide Ukraine supporters by projection, it is by definition, divisive projection. You just can’t stand that your democrat career politician has made mistakes so you defend him every way you can even at the cost of support for Ukraine. Very sad for the Ukrainian victims but very happy for the Kremlin, congratulations…

          • I’m not trying to divide Ukraine supporters; I simply posted an article that points out who aren’t Ukraine supporters.

            I’ve written my representatives encouraging them to support Ukraine.

            • Here, let me break it down for you from just Trump’s first 18 months in office:
              1. April, 2018: Strict sanctions including non-travel, asset freezes and preventing any future business with America on 7 of Russia’s richest individuals and 17 top government officials for their interference in American elections.
              2. January, 2017: Sanctions to punish Russia for its unlawful 2014 annexation of Crimea. With those sanctions, the Trump administration punished more than three dozen individuals and organizations
              a. Note: When the Kremlin asked to remove these sanctions, Trump answered they will remain in place until “Russia meets its obligations under the 2015 Minsk agreement.”
              3. August, 2017: Trump signed a bill with more sanctions on Russia’s energy and defense industries.
              4. Trump ordered the closure of the Russian consulates in San Francisco, Seattle, D.C. and New York City by executive order, not legislation.
              5. Trump expelled 60 Russian diplomats after the Russian government carried out a nerve agent attack in the UK. More countries followed suit after Trump’s actions.
              6. 2017 in Poland, Trump lambasted Russia for using oil as a weapon in eastern Europe.
              7. Trump offered to identify alternative energy sources in eastern Europe which led to several LNG deals in Europe.
              8. May 2018, Trump approves and delivers the first Javelin missile systems to Ukraine.

              These are hardly the things a POTUS would do if they hated Ukraine or were a foreign agent for the Kremlin. Now try to be fair.

        • It is undoubted that some ‘orange-assed’ Republicans have ugly ties with Putler. But Obama had a whole term to arm Ukraine to prevent the disaster we are facing now. Don’t distract people with fucking Trump. Now Biden is president and he can force decisions via decrete. Democrat tactics is to do nothing, then blame it on others who indeed also did near to nothing.

  7. Biden has done the same with the Bradley’s, long range weapons and F16’s….it’s always been “No, then changes mind.

    The Biden Regime is about 6 months behind and a lot of dead Ukrainian civilians and military, as a result.

    Слава Україні!!!!

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