France’s President makes surprising announcement

French President Emmanuel Macron announces his willingness to train Ukrainian fighter pilots on TV. Will his country soon also be supplying planes?

According to President Emmanuel Macron, France is open to training Ukrainian pilots on its territory. The training programs could start immediately, Macron tells TV station TF1. When asked about training for Ukrainian pilots on French jets, he replied: “There are no taboos.”

Macron said in an interview that Ukraine would be supplied with more ammunition and material. In addition, they want to help train the troops and repair cannons and vehicles.

“We opened the door to train Ukrainian pilots,” said the French president. “The training can start now.” Several European countries had concluded that it was now necessary to start training. When asked if France would also supply fighter jets, he replied: “No, I wasn’t talking about planes.”

Ukraine expects “fighter jet coalition”

According to a government spokesman, Great Britain also has no plans to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. The background is that Ukraine has indicated that it would rather get F-16 jets, says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman. “There are no plans for that,” he said when asked if Britain would send fighter jets to Ukraine.

An F-16 fighter jet. (Quelle: IMAGO/Michalis Karagiannis / Eurokinissi)

F-16 fighter jet

According to the Bundeswehr, this type is a US combat aircraft. It has a fuselage length of about 15 meters and a wingspan of about nine meters. It can reach speeds of up to 2,100 kilometers per hour.

“The Ukrainians have decided to train their pilots on F-16s and you will know that the RAF does not use them,” says the spokesman, referring to the Royal Air Force – Britain’s air force.

After meeting Sunak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had discussed with the British Prime Minister a delivery of fighter jets by Western countries. “We want to form a fighter jet coalition,” said Zelenskyj. There will be some “very important decisions” in the near future. “But we still have to work a little more on it.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (left) and Rishi Sunak (right): The Ukrainian President met the British Prime Minister in London on Monday. (Quelle: Dan Kitwood)

In this context, Sunak said that there were talks with international partners about further support for Ukraine. But if France and Great Britain train but do not want to deliver, which countries are even suitable for delivering fighter jets, especially those of the F-16 type?

These countries were open

At least the latter two nations have recently been open to supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine. The two countries did not consult with Great Britain until the beginning of May. The delivery of F-16 fighter jets is “not taboo,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

An agreement has not yet been reached. But that’s a matter of time, said Rutte confidently. The prime minister referred to international debates about the delivery of self-propelled howitzers and Leopard tanks to Ukraine. “Something like that just takes time. But now the self-propelled howitzers are in the Ukraine. And the Leopard IIs are being delivered.”

USA fear escalation

The manufacturing country USA, on the other hand, had so far refused to deliver fighter jets to Ukraine. As early as March 2022, the United States expressed skepticism when Poland indicated that it intended to indirectly hand over its Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets to the Ukrainian armed forces. In order not to deliver the jets directly to the war party, the planes should first be handed over to the USA, which in turn should make them available to Ukraine in a second step.

This proposal was rejected at the time by the USA. Washington’s stance hasn’t changed since then: US President Joe Biden remains opposed to the delivery of US fighter jets to Ukraine, even though the US armed forces have been training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s since March.


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