NEW YORK, May 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian pilots are not allowed to train on F-16 fighter jets owned by European countries, as Washington remains unconvinced that Kiev needs the expensive aircraft, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Ukrainian official.
Despite the fact that some European countries have signaled that they are ready to send F-16s to Ukraine, authorities in Kiev will need approvals from the United States where the fighters were made. Without American consent, the training is likely to be limited to technical lessons and technical language only, the newspaper said.
The Biden administration is unconvinced that Ukraine needs the expensive jets. Besides, the United States does not want its highly restricted systems to be duplicated or fall into enemy hands. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that he had no update on F-16s.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on May 9 that his country is discussing the possibility of sending F-16 fighters to Ukraine with Great Britain, Denmark and "some other countries in Europe" and the United States. "An intensive dialogue" is underway, Rutte said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba earlier said that some European allies had started work on the issue of sending US F-16 fighters to Kiev. However, there has been scarce comment on the plan in the West, while Ukraine itself admits that the process may not start any time soon.
Meanwhile, the office of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier announced a new military support program to train Ukrainian pilots on Western warplanes.