UK to start training Ukrainian pilots in summer, work on F-16 delivery
An F-16 fighter jet. Photo via Depositphotos

The United Kingdom will start training Ukrainian combat pilots in the summer, its prime minister’s office said in a statement on Monday.

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The programme, announced by UK’s Rishi Sunak back in February, will provide Ukrainians with "piloting skills they can apply a different kind of aircraft", the statement reads.

"This training goes hand in hand with UK efforts to work with other countries on providing F-16 jets – Ukraine’s fighter jets of choice."

The announcement comes as the UK pledges to provide Ukraine with hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems, including hundreds of new long-range attack drones with a range of over 200 kilometres.

Ukraine has long been asking for modern fighter jets, claiming that its current Soviet-era aircraft are not capable of countering offensives of Russian forces and are too old to be combat-effective.

While such deliberations are known to be taking place, no country has so far committed to delivering Ukraine modern aircraft.

Chief of Aviation of the Ukrainian Air Force Command Brigadier General Serhii Holubtsov believes that the training programme for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s can be significantly reduced compared to standard timing.