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Denmark, Portugal join 'fighter jet' coalition

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 20, 2023 12:11 AM 2 min read
U.S. Air Force F16 fighter jets fly in formation during U.S.-Philippines joint air force exercises dubbed Cope Thunder at Clark Air Base on May 9, 2023, in Mabalacat, Philippines. (Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
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Denmark will train Ukrainian pilots on U.S.-built F-16 fighter jets and is open to discussions on their possible transfer, Acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said on May 19.

Speaking with Danish media outlets DR and Ritzau, Poulsen didn't provide any further details on the training, saying its format would be finalized with allies during the next month.

"We are open to discussing – once we have made the training efforts – whether we should go one step further and donate F-16 fighter jets," the minister added.

Portugal has also agreed to train Ukrainian pilots and mechanics on Western-type combat aircraft, according to Ukraine's Foreign Ministry.

The news comes shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden approved plans to train Ukrainian service personnel on F-16 jets, according to a senior U.S. official, cited by CNN.

On May 17, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte agreed to build an international coalition to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. The coalition will be formed already this year, said Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

According to Kuleba, some of Ukraine's allies have expressed their willingness to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to operate Western fighter jets, and other countries are ready to provide the aircraft.

Earlier, the U.K. promised to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter aircraft this summer, and France also "opened the door" for such training.

Ukraine war latest: Sunak announces more defense aid, promises UK will be ‘key part’ of ‘fighter jet coalition’
Key developments on May 15: * Zelensky meets with Sunak, new defense aid from UK announced * Sunak promises UK will be a “key part” of the “fighter jet coalition” * Ukraine’s military intelligence says around 152,000 Russian servicemembers preparing “defensive measures” in occupied Zaporizhzhia,…
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