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Dutch Prime Minister: Good news, US will allow Ukrainian pilots to train F-16 fighter jets

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was pleased the United States was agreeing to train Ukrainian pilots for the F-16 fighter jet. “Details will be worked out in the coming weeks,” Rutte said on Twitter late Friday afternoon. Earlier, CNN reported that U.S. President Joe Biden told G7 leaders he would support coordinated efforts with allies and partners to train Ukrainian pilots how to use fighter jets, including older ones. A senior U.S. government official confirmed.

According to CNN, the training will take place entirely in Europe. However, US personnel will participate in the exercise alongside European allies. Expect this process to take several months. The fact that the United States may participate in the exercises does not mean that the United States has already decided to supply fighter jets to Ukraine. The official told CNN, “As the training will take place over the next few months, it will be up to the coalition of countries participating in the effort to decide whether, how many and who will actually provide the aircraft. will be,” he said.

In March, the United States received two Ukrainian pilots at a military base in Tucson, Arizona, and used a flight simulator to assess their skills and how long it took them to learn how to fly a variety of U.S. military aircraft. evaluated whether Including the F-16. Congress has allocated funds for such training in the 2023 budget. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has long called for the introduction of fighter jets, especially the F-16. Countries such as the Netherlands cannot supply the aircraft without permission from the United States, a country that produces fighter jets.

“I welcome the historic decision of the United States, [the president] Support the International Fighter Union. This greatly strengthens your air force. I look forward to discussing the practical implementation of this decision at the G7 summit in Hiroshima,” said President Zelensky.

British Prime Minister Rishi Suak announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached with Prime Minister Rutte to take the lead in an international coalition of fighter jets for Ukraine. “From training to getting an F-16,” said a Sunak spokesperson. Foreign Minister Wobke Fuchstra denied this the next day, saying the Netherlands was not yet at that point.

Still, Rutte mentioned his colleague in a message of support on Friday. “I welcome the news that the United States, along with our colleagues in the UK, Denmark and Belgium, are ready to approve the training of Ukrainian pilots in F-16 fighter jets,” Rutte wrote. Ukraine can count on the unwavering support of the Netherlands and its international partners. “

Defense Minister Kaisa Oronguren also agreed with Rutte’s statement. “With our close allies Denmark, Belgium and the UK, we are working on this approach. We are ready to help Ukraine in this regard,” she said.

“Great progress!” VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans said on Twitter that he applauded the decision. “Depending on how the Ukrainian offensive unfolds in the near future, there could be deliveries soon,” he said. A member of Mr Rutte’s party said it showed the Netherlands had played a “big role” in the situation. He argued that this would strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and serve as a deterrent against Russia.

CDA Rep. Derk Boswijk also called it an “important step” on Twitter.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/05/19/dutch-pm-good-news-us-will-let-ukrainian-pilots-train-f-16-fighter-jets Dutch Prime Minister: Good news, US will allow Ukrainian pilots to train F-16 fighter jets

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