Biden invites allies to Washington as fighting intensifies in Ukraine

Biden invites allies to Washington as fighting intensifies in Ukraine | ltc-a

President Biden hosted Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the White House on Monday to discuss security initiatives, including military support for Ukraine, amid reports that Kiev may step up its long-planned counteroffensive against Russian forces.

One of the main topics of discussion between Mr. Biden and Ms. Frederiksen, according to the White House, concerned Ukraine’s demand for American-made F-16 warplanes. In late May, and after months of resisting mounting pressure to supply the planes for fears they could be used to strike Russian territory, Mr. Biden agreed to allow pilots to be trained to operate the planes and allied countries to provide them.

Denmark is one of several countries whose leaders have signaled they would be willing to transfer F-16s from their stocks or provide pilot training. Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway have also indicated that they would be willing to help.

On Thursday, Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, another key NATO ally who has voiced the need to arm Kiev. In February, Mr Sunak said « nothing was out of the question » when it came to considering military aid for Ukraine.

Over the past 16 months, Biden has helped keep key Western allies of the United States in agreement on the need to deliver aid to Kiev, despite weakening domestic support for the war and amid conflicting opinions among other leaders about how best to arm Ukraine. .

Now, as Ukrainian soldiers step up their artillery strikes and ground assaults against Russia’s front lines, the West once again finds itself at a crucial point where the allies will have to step up together.

John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Monday he could not say whether the Ukrainian counteroffensive had officially begun, but added that the Biden administration had done everything it could to provide support to prepare Kiev.

« The president is confident that we have done everything we can over the past six to eight months or more to make sure they have all the equipment or training or ability, » Kirby said.

The timeline for delivering the F-16s still remained unclear on Monday. Biden called it « highly unlikely » that the F-16s will be part of the counteroffensive Ukraine has been planning in recent months.