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Coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on F16s officially launched during NATO summit; no planes pledged yet

Coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on F16s officially launched during NATO summit; no planes pledged yet
A coalition of 11 countries that will train Ukrainian staff for Western fighter jets was officially launched on the margins of the NATO summit in Vilnius. This means that all necessary weapons were “unlocked,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. Training will start in August in Denmark. The question now is in ensuring the sustainability of deliveries and fast-tracking delivery of recently promised weapons, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said.

A coalition of 11 countries officially signed a memorandum on the margins of the NATO summit in Vilnius. They will train Ukrainian staff for subsequent delivery of western fighter jets, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov wrote. The coalition united Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

We gathered a number of ‘families’ to support Ukraine, including a tank family, an artillery family, an air defense family, and now, on the 505th day of the full-scale war, an aircraft family. I am confident that Ukraine will soon join the NATO family,” Reznikov wrote.

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs also said that a coalition of Western fighter jets for Ukraine was officially launched, which is a good sign, and we need to speed up deliveries and preparation of infrastructure, technicians, and pilots.

He also added that all main types of weapons were already unlocked, and the question now is timely deliveries.

We need to ensure sustainable delivery of artillery ammunition because this is something that is needed in big quantities on a permanent basis. We are working to receive more howitzers of 155th caliber. We welcome the announcement by France that they will be providing us with long-range missiles. So everything is on track. I think the question now is not in unlocking new weapons. Because we did unlock them. The question is in ensuring the sustainability of deliveries and fast-tracking delivery of recently promised weapons,” Kuleba said.

As was reported, the coalition will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets in August in Denmark, and a training center will be set up in Romania.

Currently, no country has pledged to send Ukraine F-16s. However, the US said it is open to supplying Ukraine with F-16s and had signaled to European allies that the US would allow them to export the fighter jets to Ukraine on the condition that Ukraine would not use them to strike Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had said during a meeting of Ukraine’s military allies on 16 June that the delivery of F16s fighter jets to Ukraine will be contingent on how long the training process of Ukrainian pilots will take, “as well as on our ongoing assessment of needs and how best to help Ukraine.”

The final communique of the NATO summit in Vilnius on 11 July said that Ukraine will be invited to join the Alliance when “Allies agree, and conditions are met.”

The Alliance reaffirmed that Ukraine’s future is in NATO and said Ukraine moved beyond the Membership Action Plan, but the country still needs additional reforms. The declaration did not provide a timeline for Ukraine’s accession to NATO and clear conditions for its membership.

Ukraine to be invited to join NATO when Allies agree, conditions are met – NATO Vilnius Summit Communiqué

“This is wording simply regarding the invitation [to NATO], not mentioning Ukraine’s membership. It is unprecedented and absurd to have no timeframe for either the invitation (!) or Ukraine’s membership, and when some strange formulations are added about ‘conditions’ even for inviting Ukraine,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said about the decision, adding that NATO members’ quibbles over conditions for inviting Ukraine to NATO give Russia motivation to continue its terror.

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