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WorldAsiathe training of Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 does not make NATO...

the training of Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 does not make NATO a party to the conflict


Training Ukrainian pilots on Western F-16 fighter jets does not make NATO a party to the conflict, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, as allies vowed to speed up the start of the training process.

Ukraine has the right to defend itself, Stoltenberg stressed.

“We are helping Ukraine to defend this right,” he told reporters in Brussels. “That does not make NATO and its allies a party to the conflict.”

Senior Russian diplomats said on Monday that the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would raise questions about NATO’s role in the conflict.

President Joe Biden on Friday approved training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy assured Biden that the planes would not be used on Russian soil.

“This is an important step that will obviously allow us to deploy fighter jets at some point,” Stoltenberg said, describing the move as “a very clear signal that this is for a long time and that Russia will not wait (that NATO stop helping Ukraine).

At the same time, a coalition of countries supplying fighter jets to Ukraine has set specific dates for the start of training.

“Now that we have the green light, things will go faster,” Dutch Defense Minister Kaisa Ollongren told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with her European counterparts in Brussels.

The training will be coordinated between Belgium, Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands and other allies, and other countries could join, she said.

Germany said it was looking for ways to support the fighter jet supply coalition.

“We are looking at several options that we could theoretically have,” said British Defense Secretary Boris Pistorius. “But (that assistance) probably won’t be significant, because we just don’t have our own F-16 fighters, and we’re unlikely to be able to provide much pilot training assistance.”

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