WASHINGTON, May 22. /TASS/. If the West supplies F-16 fighter jets to Kiev, they will be based in Ukraine, Frank Kendall, the Secretary of the Air Force, said on Monday.
"We're talking about a Ukrainian capability, not a NATO capability," he said at a meeting with Washington-based Defense Writers Group, when asked by TASS if there is an option that the jets could be based in a NATO member country. "If they are going to be part of the Ukrainian Air Force, I assume they'll be in Ukraine."
Kendall also said the collective West has yet to determine where Ukrainian pilots will undergo training in flying F-16s.
US President Joe Biden said on May 21, following the G7 summit in Japan, that the West plans to train Ukrainian pilots in flying fourth-generation including F-16s. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that Washington will discuss with its allies in the coming months which countries will transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He said that the US administration believes the supplies of jets are not a priority for preparing Kiev for a counteroffensive.
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko on Saturday commented on the intentions of US allies to transfer F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, stating that Western countries continue to escalate the Ukrainian conflict, and Moscow will take this into account when making plans.