Poland ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s

Grzegorz Michałowski/PAP

Poland is ready to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 combat aircraft, Polish defence minister has said.

"We are ready to conduct such training. I proposed that this type of training should be included in the EU training mission that is being conducted in Poland," Mariusz Blaszczak said in Brussels on Tuesday and added that "it is a tool that will allow to reimburse the costs incurred during training of Ukrainian soldiers."

He also stipulated that the training had not yet started, referring to an earlier statement by Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, who said earlier in the day that Poland was one of a number of countries already training Ukrainians on the US-made jets.

At the same time, Blaszczak pointed to "the very high assessment of the Polish training mission by the EU agencies... which proves the great preparation of our instructors."

According to him, the EU training mission is "an example of excellent cooperation of European countries to support Ukraine."

During the G7 summit in Hiroshima, the United States told its allies that it would back an international project to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s involving the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal.

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, has said he is confident that his country will eventually receive supplies of F-16s.