US Does Not Allow Ukrainian Pilots to Train on F-16 in Europe – NYT

Thursday, 18 May 2023

The United States does not allow Ukrainian pilots to begin training on F-16 fighter jets in Europe, despite the readiness of several countries to conduct such training.

According to The New York Times with reference to an unnamed Ukrainian official, without US permission Ukrainian pilots can only be familiarised with the technical language and conduct tactical lessons. Test flights on the F-16 are not possible.

According to The New York Times, President Joe Biden's administration, which must approve the transfer of any American-made aircraft, is still not convinced that Ukraine needs expensive fighter jets.

A senior US official said the White House opposes F-16 deliveries to Ukraine because the fighter is too expensive. As a result, a very large share of the budget for supporting Ukraine may go to the sending of these fighters. Instead, the US administration is going to focus on supplying other weapons.

At the same time, the source did not rule out that Biden's administration may allow European countries to transfer their F-16s to Ukraine.

On 17 May, following the results of a meeting on the sidelines of the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavík, the prime ministers of UK and the Netherlands agreed to lead a "coalition of fighter jets" to provide Ukraine with F-16s (Ukr).

In his Tuesday evening speech, President Zelenskyy announced that the UK and the Netherlands, as well as France, had joined the so-called coalition of fighter jets.

Wopke Hoekstra, the Netherlands’ Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday, 17 May, that international talks concerning the possible supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine have so far seen no progress (Ukr).

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