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White House: Ukrainian pilots to receive F-16 training in Denmark, Romania

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 26, 2023 11:34 PM 2 min read
John Kirby, White House national security council spokesperson, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2023. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian pilots are going to receive training on F-16 fighter jets in Denmark and Romania, while other locations are being considered as well, U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on July 26.

However, the official noted that other details of the training scheme are not yet finalized.

"The dates, the locations, the length of the syllabus, all of that is still being worked out," Kirby said at a press conference.

According to Kirby, the U.K. is providing English-language lessons to Ukrainian pilots so they can operate the Western-made jets.

Politico reported earlier on July 26 that so far no country has committed aircraft to support the training and no final decisions on the plans have been made, despite hopes that it would start this summer.

According to Politico's sources, one idea that has been discussed is to send Ukrainian pilots to the U.S. to be trained at an Air National Guard unit in Arizona. The base already trains foreign partners on how to operate F-16s.

An alternative idea is to send U.S. pilots to Europe to train Ukrainian pilots at a European base.

Politico added that Draken International, an aerospace contractor, has recruited retired military pilots to train Ukrainians in a facility being set up in Romania as a regional F-16 training center.

Denmark's Acting Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said on June 15 that Ukrainian pilots will be able to train on F-16 fighter jets at the Danish Air Force base Skrødstrup in Southern Jutland.

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

On July 17, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that U.S. President Joe Biden "has given a green light" to allow European countries to launch the much-anticipated training for Ukrainian pilots.

Kirby said on July 21 that Ukraine will receive F-16 fighter jets before the end of the year.

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