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PM: Italy may train Ukrainian pilots but can't supply F-16s

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 20, 2023 11:53 PM 1 min read
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Italy may commit to training Ukrainian fighter pilots, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on May 20 at a news conference following the G7 summit in Japan.

Earlier this week, the U.K. and the Netherlands announced they would lead a coalition of countries that would provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters and the training to use them.

The coalition also includes Belgium, Denmark, the U.S. and Portugal.  

Italy may join this coalition but does not operate any F-16s of its own and therefore cannot provide F-16 jets to Ukraine, Meloni said.

In February, the Italian government reportedly considered providing Ukraine with the jets it does operate, but would only proceed after other countries did the same.

Ukraine has been asking for modern fighters for many months, to defend its skies and provide needed air support during counteroffensives.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.
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