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1. After months of U.S. insistence that Ukraine did not need F-16s to fight its war with Russia, Washington finally relented to pressure, agreeing not to stop allied nations from sending Kyiv the advanced Western fighter jets it has long desired. Ukraine now hopes to have U.S.-made F-16s flying as early as this fall, following U.S. agreement to allow third countries to transfer the aircraft, according to an adviser to Kyiv’s Ministry of Defense. “If we all pull our weight … and decisions are made quickly,” Yuri Sak said Friday, “I would estimate that end of September, early October, we could see the first F-16s flying in the Ukrainian airspace.” While the planes will not be available for the Ukrainian counteroffensive expected to begin within weeks, the speed at which decisions are being made to supply them at all has been head-spinning. For more than a year, getting F-16s into the skies above Ukraine for use against Russia has been Kyiv’s holy grail. But the Biden administration, with more than 1,000 of the planes in the U.S. arsenal and at least that many having been sold to allies and partners around the world, repeatedly said no. The United States retains the right to veto other nations transferring the planes to third countries. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
2. Western countries will be running "colossal risks" if they supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko, who is quoted by Russia's TASS news agency. It follows the announcement the US will allow Western allies to give jets to Ukraine, as well as facilitating joint allied training programs for Ukrainian troops. "We see that Western countries are still adhering to the escalation scenario. It involves colossal risks for themselves," Grushko was quoted as saying. "In any case, this will be taken into account in all our plans, and we have all the necessary means to achieve the goals we have set." (Source: bbc.com)
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