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Kuleba: F-16 fighter jets may arrive as soon as pilots complete training

by Martin Fornusek August 17, 2023 1:26 PM 1 min read
US soldiers inspect F-16 fighter jets during an air force joint military exercise in the Philippines on May 9. (Photo credit: AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine could receive F-16 fighter jets around the same time when Ukrainian pilots complete their training on the aircraft, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, Interfax-Ukraine reported on Aug. 17.

"I think that the Ukrainian pilots will return from training, and the planes will also arrive with them," Kuleba said on the air of the Snidanok 1+1 TV program.

"They may not arrive directly in the cockpits, but this will be a synchronized process," the minister commented, stressing that President Volodymyr Zelensky "has meetings every day" to speed up the progress.

"I think that there will be good news soon," Kuleba added.

The Washington Post reported on Aug. 11 that according to unnamed Ukrainian officials, the first six Ukrainian pilots will not be ready to fly the planes until the summer of 2024.

The Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said that Ukraine will not be able to defend its airspace with F-16s by the coming fall or winter.

White House considers training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 in US
The White House said on Aug. 11 the United States is “certainly open” to training Ukrainian F-16 pilots on U.S. soil. However, this process might take some time.
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