The UK, The Netherlands, France, and Belgium are ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. At the same time, the countries don’t have enough F-16s or will have them commissioned too late to send to Ukraine. Most likely, only the US has enough planes to send them in the coming months. Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba is convinced that an “aviation coalition” to provide Western fighter jets to Ukraine will be formed this year. He stated this on Ukrainian TV air. There are countries that are ready to provide combat aircraft as part of the “aviation coalition,” the minister said.
“This is all the result of the international contacts of the president and all of us who work on the diplomatic front. Our priority is the F-16s, but we are not canceling other aircraft options. It’s like with tanks,” Kuleba said.
The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte have agreed to work to create an international coalition to provide fighter jets to Ukraine. with combat air capabilities, supporting everything from pilot training to the purchase of F16s.
“The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Rutte agreed they would work to build (an) international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F16 jets,” a spokesman for Sunak’s Downing Street office said in a statement on Tuesday following a meeting at the Council of Europe Summit in Iceland.
“We need fighters, and we thank the Allies for the decision to work in this direction,” the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak commented on the decision.
Belgium also confirmed its willingness to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16, Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported. At the same time, the country is not able to provide fighter jets for Ukraine since it doesn’t have enough available.
Speaking on television on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron also announced that his country was ready to train Ukrainian fighter pilots. At the same time, he ruled out sending warplanes to Kyiv.
“We have opened the door to training pilots, and this with several other European countries who are also ready. I think discussions are underway with the Americans,” he said in a televised interview with the TF1 broadcaster. “The training can start from now,” Macron added, without providing further details.