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Politico: Eight Ukrainian pilots ready to train on F-16s

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 5, 2023 6:16 AM 1 min read
Portuguese Air Force F-16 fighter jets during NATO's Baltic Air Policing Mission in Lithuanian airspace near Siauliai on May 23, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
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The first group of Ukrainian pilots that will participate in F-16 trainings have been identified, Politico reported on Aug. 4.

Unnamed US sources told Politico journalists that eight Ukrainian pilots fluent in English are ready to begin training on the fighter jets as soon as formal training plans are drawn up by European allies and approved by the United States. Additionally, 20 more pilots with minimal English skills are available to start language instruction in the UK within the month.

A total of 32 Ukrainian pilots have been named to possibly take part in the training program, yet English language competency remains a significant obstacle.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots would begin this month.

At the Vilnius NATO summit in July, Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov signed a memorandum with 11 countries outlining the F-16 training terms for Ukrainian pilots.

Zelensky's announcement corresponds with the information that officials told Reuters during the summit. They said that the program will start in Denmark in August and a training hub will be set up in Romania.

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