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Conflicts, Military and WarThe United States does not allow Ukrainian pilots to train on F-16 fighter jets

The United States does not allow Ukrainian pilots to train on F-16 fighter jets

Several European countries are ready to transfer F-16 fighter jets to the Ukrainian armed forces, but the US presidential administration does not even allow Ukrainian pilots to train on them due to the high cost of the aircraft. The New York Times (NYT) writes about it, citing a senior Ukrainian official.

According to the newspaper’s interlocutor, European countries, without the permission of the states, can only familiarize the Ukrainian military with technical language and conduct tactical lessons without touching the fighters. Test flights on the F-16 are also impossible without US approval.

A senior US official told the NYT that the White House opposes the delivery of F-16s to Kyiv because of the high cost of this fighter. According to him, “the multimillion-dollar price tag of the plane will eat up too much of the already dwindling cauldron of military funding.”

The publication’s source noted that US authorities plan to focus on providing other weapons instead. At the same time, the US representative did not rule out that the Joe Biden administration would issue re-export licenses to European military personnel, which would allow them to transfer their F-16s to Ukraine.

In March, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the United States would not yet supply Kiev with F-16 fighter jets. According to the White House, any supply of modern Western aircraft is irrelevant at the current stage of the conflict and will lead to its further escalation. The British authorities adhered to the same position. In late February, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace declared that the Typhoon fighters in service with the RAF are too difficult to operate. However, on May 15, the Cabinet announced that the UK would start training Ukrainian pilots this summer and was also working with other countries to possibly send F-16s to Ukraine. Finnish and Dutch authorities have raised the possibility of deliveries of F-16 fighters in January. Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra announced the transfer of American F-16s to Kiev, but later the country’s Defense Minister Kaisa Ollongren clarified that this should be discussed with the United States and other NATO allies.

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Russia Desk
Russia Desk
The Eastern Herald’s Russia Desk validates the stories published under this byline. That includes editorials, news stories, letters to the editor, and multimedia features on easternherald.com.

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