RT-Engels: 19-06-2024,

A Ukrainian lawmaker has accused Washington of deliberate delays so as not to antagonize Moscow

The US is making “excuses” for its failure to prepare sufficient numbers of Ukrainian F-16 fighter pilots to aid the war effort, the head of the arms procurement commission in Kiev’s parliament, Aleksandra Ustinova, has claimed.

Kiev’s sponsors in the so-called ‘F-16 coalition’ – the US, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands – have pledged to deliver up to 60 American-made aircraft by the end of this year. Ukrainian pilots are being trained in the US and Denmark, while a separate training program in Romania is planned, but is yet to begin.

So far only eight Ukrainian pilots have received training at the Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, Ustinova told British newspaper The Times in an interview published on Monday. An additional 12 are being trained in Denmark, she added.

The delay in preparation means Ukraine is likely to only have 20 fully trained F-16 pilots by the end of this year, the lawmaker said. Ukraine earlier asked the US for at least another ten spots in the training programs, but was refused, Ustinova noted.

Crossing Moscow’s red line ‘permissible’ – Austria

Last week, Politico wrote that Kiev’s efforts to get 30 more pilots into Western training facilities have been rebuffed. Ukrainian pilots have already hit language barrier issues, a senior DOD official told the news outlet. The Tucson base can only train 12 at a time,

 » Lees verder