Air defence, F-16 to dominate upcoming Ramstein meeting, Pentagon says
The upcoming Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting is set to discuss providing additional ammunition to Ukraine, strengthening its air defences, and training pilots for the F-16, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.
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US Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told a briefing that the so-called Ramstein meeting, set to gather on Thursday, will start with Ukraine "providing an overview of the current security situation there and what their most urgent needs are."
"And so I would expect that ground-based air defence will continue to be a topic of priority discussion, as well ammunition to ensure, again, that they can sustain the fight," Mr Pyder added.
"And then there will also be a discussion about F-16 training."
Separately, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, about the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting.
It will "focus on sustaining Ukraine’s armoured manoeuver capabilities and bolstering Ukraine’s air defences against Russia’s continued brutal attacks," a readout posted by US defence department said.
Ukraine has long been asking for modern fighter jets, claiming that its current Soviet-era aircraft are not capable of countering offensives of Russian forces and are too old to be combat-effective.
On Sunday, US president Joe Biden officially confirmed the US would start training Ukrainian pilots for the F-16.
Ukraine earlier signalled hopes to receive forty to fifty aircraft, the first ones preferably in the autumn.