Ukraine won’t be given fighter jets until its counteroffensive has finished, said Rob Bauer, the Chair of the NATO Military Committee.
In an interview with LBC Radio on Monday, the admiral said although the discussion on the aircraft was an important one, it “will not be solved in the short term.”
Nor will training the pilots or training the technicians be available before the Ukrainian counteroffensive, he emphasized.
No training for Ukrainian pilots to fly the US-made F-16s has yet begun, and Kiev would hate to put pressure on the West here, as it relies on them for support, Yury Ignat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said earlier.
In early June, Ignat said that Ukrainian pilots may soon depart abroad for training. In late May, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the collective West expects to begin training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16s in the upcoming weeks. According to Austin, Denmark and the Netherlands would lead the coalition that coordinates the training of Ukrainian pilots. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov noted that Ukrainian forces will be able to begin using the F-16s in combat only next fall or winter, because training the pilots and the engineers takes time.