Biden invites allies to Washington as fighting rages in Ukraine

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 be stepping 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, involved Ukraine’s request for US-made F-16 warplanes. In late May, after months of resisting mounting pressure to provide the planes for fear they could be used to strike Russian territory, Biden agreed to allow pilots to be trained to operate the planes and for allied countries to supply them.

Denmark is one of several countries whose leaders have indicated they would be open to either transferring the F-16s from their own stocks or offering pilot training. Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway have also indicated their willingness to help.

And on Thursday, Biden will host British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, another key NATO ally who has been vocal about the need to arm Kiev. In February, Mr Sunak said there was “nothing off the table” when it came to considering military aid to Ukraine.

Over the past 16 months, Biden has helped keep key US western allies in agreement on the need to provide aid to Kiev, despite tempering domestic support for the war and amid conflicting views among other leaders on 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 pivotal point where the Allies will need to move forward with a steady step.

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John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, told reporters Monday that 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 get Kiev ready.

“The president is confident that we’ve done everything we can over the last six, eight months or more to make sure they have all the equipment or the training or the capabilities,” Mr. Kirby said.

On Monday, the F-16 delivery schedule remains unclear. Biden has described it as “highly unlikely” that the F-16s were part of the counterattack that Ukraine has been planning for the past several months.

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