Biden Invites Allies to Washington as Fighting Intensifies in Ukraine


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President Biden hosted Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark at the White House on Monday to discuss security initiatives, including providing military support to Ukraine, amid reports that Kyiv may be stepping up its long-planned counteroffensive against Russian forces.

One of the main discussion topics between Mr. Biden and Ms. Frederiksen, according to the White House, involved Ukraine’s demand for American-made F-16 warplanes. In late May, and after months of resisting mounting pressure to provide the planes out of fear they could be used to hit Russian territory, Mr. Biden agreed to allow for pilots to be trained to operate the aircraft and for allied countries to supply them.

Denmark is one of several countries whose leaders have signaled that they would be open to either transfer F-16s from their own stockpiles or provide pilot training. Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway have also indicated that they would be willing to help.

On Thursday, Mr. Biden will host Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, another key NATO ally who has been vocal about the need to arm Kyiv. In February, Mr. Sunak said that “nothing was off the table” when it came to considering military aid for Ukraine.

For the past 16 months, Mr. Biden has helped keep key Western allies of the United States in agreement over the need to provide aid to Kyiv, despite softening domestic support for the war and amid conflicting opinions among other leaders about how best to arm Ukraine.

Now, as Ukrainian soldiers step up their artillery strikes and ground assaults against Russia’s front lines, the West again finds itself at a pivotal point in which allies will need to move forward in lock step.

John F. Kirby, a White House spokesman, told reporters on Monday that he could not say whether the Ukrainian counteroffensive had officially started, but he added that the Biden administration had done all it could to provide support to get Kyiv ready.

“The president is confident that we did everything we could over the past six, eight months or more to make sure that they had all the equipment, training or capabilities,” Mr. Kirby said.

On Monday, the timeline for delivery of F-16s still remained unclear. Mr. Biden has called it “highly unlikely” that the F-16s would be part of the counteroffensive that Ukraine planned over the past several months.



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