US will back training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s, Biden tells G7 leaders -reports

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden informed G7 leaders at their summit in Japan that Washington will support a joint effort with allies to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, the Associated Press and CNN reported on Friday, citing sources.

Ukraine is seeking the U.S.-made jets as it seeks to press on with its biggest advance for months against invading Russian troops before a planned counteroffensive. It says the F-16s are far more effective than Soviet-era jets it currently has.

Biden told G7 leaders that decisions on when, how many and who will provide the jets, built by Lockheed Martin, will be made in the coming months while training is under way, the AP reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The training will be conducted in Europe, the AP reported.

Western governments have been wary of leaving their own countries undefended by giving away too much equipment. They have also avoided sending anything that could strike deep into Russian territory and give Moscow a reason to escalate the war.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub; editing by Doina Chiacu)

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