US to begin training Ukraine F-16 pilots in Sep.: Pentagon

US to begin training Ukraine F-16 pilots in Sep.: Pentagon

TEHRAN, Aug. 25 (MNA) – The United States has said it will begin training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 warplanes soon amid a race by Washington and its allies to provide Kiev with the American supersonic aircraft.

"These pilots will be conducting English language training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in September prior to attending F-16 flying training in Arizona" the following month, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said on Thursday.

The training will involve "several" pilots and "dozens" of personnel to maintain the aircraft, he added.

Last week, the United States told Denmark and the Netherlands they could transfer their F-16s to Ukraine when the country's pilots are trained to use them.

Late at the weekend, Copenhagen and The Hague announced that they would provide Ukraine with a number of F-16 fighter jets. Six of the promised jets will initially be delivered around New Year.

Also on Thursday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Oslo would join the array of countries that are slated to ship the single-engine aircraft to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strove for months to secure the fighter jets.

The ex-Soviet republic views the F-16 warplanes as vital to the success of its efforts to push against Russia, which has been waging a war with its neighbor since last February.

Moscow says it started the warfare in order to defend the pro-Russian population in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk against persecution by Kyiv, and also to "de-Nazify" its neighbor.

Russia holds that the West's anti-Russian agendas, including its eagerness for inclusion of Ukraine in NATO — and, therefore, the Western military alliance's expansion right up to Russia's borders — forced Moscow to launch the war on Kyiv.


Source: Mehr News