President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine landed in Hiroshima, Japan, on Saturday, bolstered by a major shift from President Biden, who told U.S. allies that he would allow Ukrainian pilots to be trained on American-made F-16 fighter jets.
Live footage on Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK, showed Mr. Zelensky stepping off a French plane at an airport in Hiroshima, dressed in a Khaki-colored hooded jacket. Red carpet was rolled out on the tarmac minutes before his arrival, and he was immediately whisked away in a black sedan.
“Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine,” Mr. Zelensky wrote on Twitter shortly after landing. “Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today.”
At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, President Biden told the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, that he could not have American precision missile systems. The White House feared they could tip Russia into reaching for its tactical nuclear weapons.
Then he allowed them.
The same dynamic infused debates over providing tanks several months ago. Now Mr. Biden, who in February rejected F-16 fighter jets as unnecessary, met in Hiroshima on Friday with leaders of other major democracies and told them that he would allow Ukrainian pilots to be trained on the American-made warplanes. He added that in a few months, the allies would figure out how to begin delivering modern Western fighters to a Ukrainian force struggling to keep an aging, dwindling fleet of pieced-together, Soviet-made fighters in the air.