Sunak promises that the UK will play a ‘big part’ in training Ukraine’s pilots to fight Russia – – Our News, Your Views

Sunak promises that the UK will play a ‘big part’ in training Ukraine’s pilots to fight Russia

Britain has no plans to supply Ukraine with jets, but a new flight school will help train Kiev pilots, and the British government has pledged to work with allies to secure the planes requested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, reports RTE.

In an announcement by Mr Zelensky in connection with talks with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Checkers, the government said a “elementary flying phase” for groups of Ukrainian pilots would begin this summer.

The move will adapt the British pilot program to provide Ukrainian counterparts with skills they can apply to different types of aircraft.

Ukraine chooses to acquire the F-16 jets used by many NATO members – but not the UK – as it transitions from Soviet-era aircraft to Western military equipment, reports RTE.

When Mr Zelensky visited the UK in February, he begged western nations for jets and presented Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle with a pilot’s helmet as he called for “wings for freedom”.

Mr Sunak said the UK will “training Ukrainian citizens to be absolutely combat-ready aircraft pilots” and familiarize them with NATO tactics.

“It is not a straightforward thing – as Volodymyr and I have been discussing – to build up that fighter combat aircraft capability. It’s not just the provision of planes, it’s also the training of pilots and all the logistics that go alongside that and the UK can play a big part in that.” Mr Sunak said, reports RTE.

Last week Britain, with its Storm Shadow missiles, became the first western country to supply Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles.

Dressed in his normal military uniform, Mr Zelensky hugged Mr Sunak as he disembarked from a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter at Checkers Base.

Ahead of the talks, President Zelensky tweeted that Britain was “leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air”, reports RTE.

Mr Sunak pledged Britain’s long-term security support for Ukraine.

“The frontlines of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war of aggression may be in Ukraine but the fault lines stretch all over the world. It is in all our interest to ensure Ukraine succeeds and Putin’s barbarism is not rewarded,” reports RTE.

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