France Can Offer Ukraine Basic Pilot Training Instead of F-16 Jets


MOSCOW (Sputnik) – France has no F-16 fighters in its air fleet, but it can offer the Ukrainian army basic flight training in place of the jets, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Friday.

“We know that what Ukraine is looking for is F-16 planes, which France does not have. But they also need pilots, and a distinction should be made between basic training and F-16 specific training. It is possible that we will contribute to basic training,” Colonna said in an interview with the Italian daily newspaper.

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons flying in formation. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.05.2023

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The top diplomat reiterated French President Emmanuel Macron’s assertion that there were “no taboos” on helping Ukraine obtain warplanes, although he conceded that giving it jets would be a very big step.

A spokesperson for the French government declined during a press briefing on Wednesday to comment on whether France would contribute to EU efforts to arm Ukraine with F-16s.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Saturday that the time was not yet right for Ukraine to have F-16s. He said Washington and its allies were going to decide which countries would supply these aircraft to Kiev and in what number.

M1 Abrams tanks. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2023

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US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky had assured him he would not use F-16s to attack “Russian geographic territory.”

However, Kiev regime does not see Crimea, Sevastopol and new regions as a Russian territory and has threatened it with attacks.

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