Photo: Força Aérea Portuguesa

Portugal to train Ukrainian pilots and mechanics to operate F-16s

Defence minister makes announcement today

Portugal is to help train Ukrainian pilots and mechanics for F-16 fighter jets.

As the world heard last week, Denmark and Holland will finally be providing Ukraine with the planes the country has been requesting for so long as it battles to beat back the illegal invasion by Russian forces. But Ukraine’s pilots are not ‘ready to fly them’. They need training.

“We have guaranteed our support to Ukraine in this regard and, at the moment, what we have committed to is providing pilot and mechanic training, which is an absolutely fundamental component, as has been reported, of support with air assets such as the F-16s″, said defence minister Helena Carreiras speaking to journalists at the Castelo Branco aerodrome, where she was travelling with the Minister of Internal Affairs to visit the fire-fighting aircraft funded by the European Union under the European Civil Protection Mechanism (RescEU).

Ukraine’s president Volodomyr Zelenskyy has said the decision to cede Ukraine these planes makes him feel confident that Ukraine may be able to end this conflict. The Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, however has condemned the plan, stressing it will lead to “an escalation”.

Sources: Lusa / Reuters