US, UK and Danish leaders to discuss aid to Ukraine in Washington

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen meets with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will meet with President Joe Biden this week

President Joe Biden will meet in Washington this week with the prime ministers of Denmark and Britain. The three leaders will hold talks that will largely focus on helping Ukraine resist Russian aggression, including recently launched training and eventually equipping Ukraine with US-made F-16 fighter jets.

The UK and Denmark are playing a key role in a nascent international joint plan that Biden recently endorsed after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West for months to provide Kiev with US fighter jets.

Biden will hold separate meetings with the leaders of two key US allies in NATO. On Monday, he will meet with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Thursday with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Both meetings come at a pivotal time in the 15-month war, as Ukraine prepares to launch a counteroffensive. The US and Europe are keen to demonstrate to Moscow that the Western alliance remains strong and focused on strengthening long-term commitments to Ukraine.

“One of the things that we will be looking at, and the president will be interested in sharing his point of view, is the long-term security needs of Ukraine,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. “And that’s where the F-16 talks will really start.”

Denmark has purchased dozens of American-made F-16s since the 1970s. The country’s leadership has already indicated the possibility of supplying some of these fighters to Ukraine. Great Britain was strongly in favor of creating a coalition to supply Ukraine with fighter jets. London has already confirmed that the UK will support the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine.

The UK announced its readiness to conduct basic training for Ukrainian pilots on Western-standard aircraft in order to prepare them for flying the F-16. Then the Ukrainian pilots will go to other countries for the next stages of training.

The F-16 agreement is one of several recent US and European initiatives to support Ukraine.

Biden is also expected to discuss preparations for a NATO summit next month in Lithuania with Frederiksen and Sunak. The alliance is considering raising the status of Ukraine as a non-NATO member and preparing a framework for security commitments the bloc could offer Kyiv after the end of the war with Russia.

It is also expected that among the topics of the talks there will also be a discussion of leverage on Turkey, a NATO member, so that it refuses to block Sweden on its way to joining the military alliance.

Earlier, Biden said that during a telephone conversation with Erdogan, he mentioned Sweden’s application to join the alliance and Turkey’s desire to buy 40 new F-16s from the United States. Some members of Congress oppose the sale of fighter jets to Turkey until Turkey approves Sweden’s NATO membership.

Source: VOA