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France to Train Ukrainian Pilots on Western Fighter Jets in New Year

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Photo: In early 2024, France will join the training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets. Source: the French Ministry of Defence
Photo: In early 2024, France will join the training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets. Source: the French Ministry of Defence

In early 2024, France will join the training of Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets. This will be an initial training that European partners provide, according to the French Ministry of Defence, which has been providing military assistance to Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.

The Ministry recalled that in May, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed his readiness to train Ukrainian fighter pilots together with several European partners. But he did not specify any details at the time. "Training can start now," he said.

"The first pilots will arrive in early 2024. After the initial training in France, they will continue their fighter jet training at courses organised by our partners," the statement said.

Although the French side does not specify this, it is likely that this refers to training on F-16 fighter jets, which is organised in Europe by a coalition led by Denmark and the Netherlands.

As a reminder, Ukrainian pilots have already begun training on F-16s in the United States, where they have started flight training. In addition, the Pentagon is addressing the issue of providing Ukraine with spare parts for the fighter jets.

Ukrainian pilots have also started training on F-16s in Denmark. They are already taking part in aerial training with instructors.

A training centre has been opened in Romania with the assistance of the Netherlands, which will also accept Ukrainians. In particular, the Netherlands promised to send 18 F-16 fighters to Romania before the New Year to train Ukrainian pilots.

The United Kingdom also announced its intention to train Ukrainians on Western-style fighter jets.

In addition, in December, the Bulgarian Defence Committee approved assistance in training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.

At a press conference in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the fighter jets that Ukrainian pilots are currently training on will strengthen Ukraine's air defence and help inflict greater losses on the Russian occupation army.

The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine has also created a special structure for the integration of F-16s. The main goal of the structure will be to ensure the continuous integration of the fighter into the overall system of the Ukrainian Defence Forces.

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