French, Ukrainian leaders agree to take further steps on training of Ukrainian fighter pilots

Specific scope, mechanism of training will be adopted at next Rammstein meeting, leaders say in joint statement

Ahmet Gençtürk  | 02.06.2023 - Update : 02.06.2023
French, Ukrainian leaders agree to take further steps on training of Ukrainian fighter pilots NATO Air Force military drill in Poland


French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy agreed Thursday to take further steps on the training of Ukrainian fighter jet pilots.

Their decision came during a meeting in the Moldovan capital Chisinau on the sidelines of the second summit of the European Political Community.

“As agreed at the 12th meeting in the Ramstein format on May 25, 2023, we confirmed our readiness to develop a framework for the start of training of Ukrainian fighter pilots when it is appropriate for the Air Force of Ukraine,” the two leaders said in a joint statement.

“Taking into account parallel consultations with the United States and other interested countries, we instructed our defense ministers to work together to develop a formal decision on the specific scope and mechanism of training pilots and technicians based on the request of the Ukrainian side, which will be adopted at the next Ramstein meeting by all countries participating in the fighter pilot training initiative.”

On May 15, the UK announced its intention to start training Ukrainian pilots this summer. Britain is actively collaborating with other nations to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.

After a discussion held during the summit, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte decided to support the establishment of an international alliance aimed at bolstering Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

Four countries -- the UK, the Netherlands, France and Belgium -- have already said they are prepared to train Ukrainian pilots fighting in the war against Russia.

Western nations have long provided Ukraine with military and financial aid throughout the war, which began on Feb. 24 last year.

However, they have so far stopped short of sending Kyiv F-16 jets, with Belgium stressing that it could only train the pilots, pointing to its own limited fleet of the aircraft.

NATO allies are expected to take up the matter at a two-day summit in Lithuania scheduled to take place in July.

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