France has said it is interested in training Ukrainian fighter pilots how to fly advanced Western-style aircraft along with other NATO countries, but has concerns about language barriers, according to official sources.
Sources from French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said at the G7 summit in Japan today, Saturday, that France is currently working with Ukraine to identify Ukrainian pilots who may speak French as well as English.
It is noteworthy that the training courses for pilots organized by Paris are conducted in French, and it takes at least 4 years to fully train a soldier with no flying experience to become a fighter pilot.
On the other hand, the sources indicated that the retraining of Ukrainian pilots who had already trained on Soviet aircraft would take between (4 and 9) months.
French sources also indicated that Ukraine may end up providing it with combat aircraft other than the American-made F-16s, which Ukrainian leaders have repeatedly requested.
France does not operate F-16 fighters, instead largely using aircraft from the French manufacturer Dassault.
US President Joe Biden said at the G7 summit in Hiroshima that Washington would support international efforts to train Ukrainian pilots to use the F-16.
On Monday, the French President announced that Ukrainian pilots would be trained to fly combat aircraft.
On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko warned the West of “enormous risks” if it provided Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.
“We can see that Western countries continue to stick to the scenario of escalation, which carries huge risks for them,” Groshko said in response to a question about the possibility of supplying Ukraine with F-16s.
NBC News reported that the United States and its allies plan to send F-16s to Ukraine.