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France doesn't rule out training Ukrainian pilots to fly fighter jets

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 19, 2023 6:42 PM 2 min read
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French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Feb. 19 that the training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets in France has not been ruled out.

Speaking of the possible delivery of fighter jets to Kyiv, Lecornu said that "there are no taboos for France in the matter."

"The transfer of aircraft raises very complex logistical and practical issues," he told Le Parisien.

The European Parliament on Feb. 16 urged EU member states to consider supplying Ukraine with fighter jets, helicopters, missile systems, and more ammunition.

Ukraine has been pleading for fighter jets for months, as Western, Ukrainian, and Russian sources continue to indicate that Russia is preparing for an imminent offensive.

So far, the West has been reluctant to transfer aircraft to Ukraine after greenlighting modern tanks for Ukraine amid fears of escalating tensions with Russia.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the decision to provide Ukraine with Western fighter jets "is not the most urgent issue now," while the US and the UK ruled out sending aircraft to Ukraine any time soon.

Ukraine needs Western aircraft to put an end to massacre of civilians, achieve victory

However, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 9 that "several" European leaders expressed readiness to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and other necessary weapons without further details.

Meanwhile, Poland has publicly shown readiness to send fighter jets to Ukraine – but it said the delivery needs NATO approval.

Sweden also said on Feb. 15 that it is considering transferring Gripen fighter aircraft after receiving a request from Kyiv.

Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16, Typhoon and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine will prevent Kyiv from launching a counteroffensive and liberating the rest of Ukrainian territory. Ukraine’s lack of advanced aircraft and missiles will likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has promised to provide Ukraine with GLSDB missiles but they are expected to arrive in nine months, which may be too late.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
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