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The Netherlands says that training Ukrainian pilots to drive F-16s will take at least six months
The Dutch Defense Minister, Kajsa Ollongren, declared this Friday that the military training of the first Ukrainian pilots in Denmark to fly F-16s will take at least "about six or eight months", so she expects the delivery of the fighters promised to Ukraine will be made "within the next year".
The acting minister, who returned on Wednesday from a visit to Kiev where she discussed the delivery of the F-16s with the Government of Volodimir Zelenski, explained that "the Ukrainians have surprised positively so far", they are "super motivated" and are "technically good".
These circumstances, he added, allow "to be so optimistic and think that they will be successful in those six or eight months" of training, although more time is usually required to train pilots. This means that the first batch of Ukrainian pilots who started their training this month in Denmark will be ready by February next year at the earliest.
As he explained on the Dutch television program Op1, the first fighters promised by the Netherlands are expected to arrive in Ukraine "over the next year", since, in addition to the training of the pilots, the necessary infrastructure must be established for F-16s in Ukraine, have spare parts and weapons suitable for these fighters, and be prepared for fighter jet maintenance. Otherwise, he noted, there is "no point" in simply supplying F-16s to Ukraine.
Ollongren is still unclear on how many F-16s the Netherlands will supply to Ukraine, but he said the Dutch government wants to "supply as many as possible" of the 42 fighters it has. "We still have to put that puzzle together," said the minister, because Defense has 24 of them in use and needs several for training.
On the other hand, the Danish government has confirmed the donation of 19 F-16 fighters to Ukraine. Last Sunday, Zelenski landed by surprise in the Netherlands to take what he called "the most important agreement" reached during the war: the supply of F-16 fighters "to strengthen Ukraine's air defenses" and warned that Kiev " it is not going to give up" and will deploy these planes "to keep Russian terrorists out of cities and towns" in Ukraine. Denmark and the Netherlands train the Ukrainian pilots together before the delivery of the fighters. (EFE)
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