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Zelenskyy on Gripen: Pilots must start training now to avoid wasting time

Zelenskyy on Gripen: Pilots must start training now to avoid wasting time Photo: President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (

Ukrainian pilots should start training on Swedish Gripen fighters now to avoid wasting time, states President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a press conference.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned that he had a dialogue with the Prime Minister of Sweden regarding the Gripen. He stated that his position is to currently train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. He explained that from the moment of the positive decision by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette, which was made a year ago, only now the pilots are finishing their training. Therefore, he emphasized that the progress depends not on him or Mette, or anyone else, it depends on the process.

Zelenskyy emphasized that the process of training missions is very slow.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that his position is the need to change the process. He acknowledged that it is very difficult and that discussions with all NATO allies are necessary. He identified this as a problem and mentioned that this is his initial idea.

Additionally, the president added that if pilots start training on the Gripen after receiving the F-16, the process will take another year.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that if a positive decision regarding Swedish aircraft could be expected in the future, his position is to start training now. He noted that if training begins only after the F-16s arrive, it will take at least a year or more. Therefore, he believes that the strongest solution would be to have the opportunity to train on Swedish aircraft parallel to the F-16 program.

Gripen for Ukraine

Sweden has opened the possibility for Ukrainian pilots to train on Gripen fighter jets. This year, the Swedish parliament approved the delivery of Gripen to Ukraine.

However, recently, Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson announced that the transfer of Gripen has been suspended. This is because partners have asked Stockholm to hold off on Gripen to focus on supplying Ukraine with F-16s.