Training had begun for Ukrainians to operate U.S. F16 fighter jets but it would take at least six months and possibly longer, Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said two days after a U.S. official said F-16s would be transferred to Ukraine once its pilots were trained.
Reznikov said in a TV interview that six months of training was considered the minimum for pilots, but it was not yet known how long it would take to train engineers and mechanics. Ukraine wants the sophisticated U.S.-made warplanes so it can counter the air superiority of Russia, whose forces invaded the country in February 2022.
“Therefore, to build reasonable expectations, set a minimum of six months in your mind, but do not be disappointed if it is longer,” he told Kanal 24 anchor Andriana Kucher, who shared the interview on her YouTube channel.
A U.S. official said that Washington had approved sending F-16s to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands to defend against Russia as soon as pilot training was completed.