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Ukrainian pilots to start F-16 training in Denmark

by Martin Fornusek June 15, 2023 11:49 PM 2 min read
An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft extended its landing gear to land at the U.S. military airfield at Spangdahlem. (Harald Tittel/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Denmark's Acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told the TV2 channel on June 15 that Ukrainian pilots will be able to train on F-16 fighter jets on Danish soil.

Poulsen explained that according to a joint plan with the Netherlands, Ukraine's pilots will receive training at the Danish Air Force base Skrødstrup in Southern Jutland, where F-16s are based.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said on June 12 that the training of Ukrainian pilots could start already this summer. However, her Danish counterpart told TV2 that the process will likely start only "after the summer holidays."

Poulsen voiced hope that other countries will provide their support as well so that Amsterdam and Copenhagen can present a more concrete plan at the Vilnius NATO summit in July.

Official: Fighter jet coalition helping Ukraine now includes 9 countries
The coalition to provide Ukraine with fighter jets now includes 8 European countries, and more countries may join, online newspaper Yevropeiska Pravda reported on June 2, citing Ihor Zhovkva, a presidential deputy chief of staff.

The acting defense minister reminded that Denmark has not yet decided on transferring the aircraft to Ukraine.

"We are still very far from these planes becoming combat aircraft in the Ukrainian Air Force. According to my estimates, the preparation will take at least six months," Poulsen said. He added that the question of the transfer can be discussed upon completion of the training.

Denmark and the Netherlands are members of the so-called "fighter jet initiative" aimed at providing advanced Western military aircraft, as well as the necessary training, to Ukraine's military.

Ukraine has received 14 MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and 13 from Slovakia but has been pushing for more advanced aircraft. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has previously said that it requires at least 48 F-16 fighter jets to liberate territory from Russia.

During a press conference in late May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the Netherlands was "seriously considering" giving F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Jet transfer is part of the agenda at the ongoing 13th Ramstein-format summit in Brussels. Ukraine's leaders hope that the unofficial "fighter jet coalition" can be formalized as "Ukraine's Sky Shield" at the meeting.

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