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Ukrainian pilots training on F-16s in U.S.: General provides details

Ukrainian pilots training on F-16s in U.S.: General provides details F-16 fighter jet (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The National Guard still has enough money to complete the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, even though the U.S. is running out of funds to send additional weapons and aid to Kyiv, according to the head of the U.S. National Guard, General Dan Hokanson.

The lack of funding led to the fact that the United States was unable to send new batches of weapons to Ukraine, despite Russia's brutal bombing. At the same time, the pilots' training was continued.

"We do have the resources to continue the training that’s already started,” Hokanson says, and get that initial tranche completed this year.

At the same time, he clarifies that if the United States decides to increase the number of Ukrainian pilots to train on the F-16, "obviously we’ll need the resources to train additional pilots and ground support personnel."

Training of Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 in the United States

In August 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would begin training Ukrainian pilots on F-16s as part of a multinational program to provide Ukraine with modern fighter jets. Training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s began in October 2023 at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona.

Ukrainian leaders have been asking the West for fighter jets since the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. For the first year and a half, the United States and other allied partners focused on providing other weapons systems, citing the cost of the aircraft and concerns about further provoking Russia.

Senate blocks bill to support Ukraine

The U.S. Senate voted on February 8 to block a bill to allocate funding to support Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan and to secure the U.S. border. According to the results of the Senate vote on the night of February 8, 49 lawmakers voted in favor of the initiative, while 50 were against. In total, 60 votes were needed to start work on the legislative initiative.

Republicans have set conditions for Democrats to approve aid to Ukraine. It was about border security.