France can contribute to the general training of Ukrainian pilots, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic, Catherine Colonna. Earlier, President Emmanuel Macron announced similar plans. In May, discussions intensified in the West on possible deliveries of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine. According to NATO, the training of Ukrainian pilots will be an important step for the transfer of these fighters to Kyiv in the future. However, analysts doubt that Western aircraft will be able to radically change the situation on the battlefield.
Paris is able to contribute to the overall training of Ukrainian military pilots, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper. At the same time, she stated that there are no F-16 fighter jets in the arsenal of the French Aerospace Forces, the deliveries of which are being sought in Kyiv.
“As President Emmanuel Macron said, there is no taboo. But Ukraine is only looking for F-16 aircraft, which France does not have. Pilots are also needed, and it is necessary to distinguish between general basic training and specific F-16 fighter training. We can assume our contribution to the overall training, ”the TASS minister quotes.
Earlier, in an interview with the TF1 TV channel, the President of France said that there were no prohibitions on sending aircraft to Ukraine.
“The line is still the same. There is no taboo. France is on the same positions – to help Ukraine resist. And now much is at stake, because the success of this counter-offensive will play a decisive role in order to build a lasting peace, ”said the head of the Fifth Republic.
At the same time, he clarified that Paris does not plan to supply aircraft to Kyiv, but is going to supply the Armed Forces of Ukraine with missiles and train the Ukrainian military.
Analysts also have no doubt that the absence of the F-16 in the arsenal will not prevent Paris from taking part in the training of Ukrainian pilots.
“In the so-called aircraft coalition that the United States is now putting together, there are countries that have expressed their readiness to train Ukrainian pilots, while they do not have F-16s. In particular, it is France and Great Britain. It can be assumed that they will conduct training on simulators and engage in general tactical training, ”RISI expert Sergey Ermakov said in a conversation with RT.
He admitted that France, most likely, will train the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the theory of warfare using the provided arsenal.
“Also, these countries can allocate funds for training, and the training itself will be conducted in other states. In addition, France, for example, can provide its airfields for training, ”the specialist argues.
A similar opinion is shared by Vladimir Vinokurov, professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Flight simulators can initially train a pilot, regardless of what type of aircraft will be used. In addition, France’s assistance can also be expressed in financing, ”the expert noted in a commentary to RT.
“Consequences in Europe are not calculated”
In May, talks intensified in the West about the prospects for the supply of fourth-generation F-16 multifunctional fighter jets to Kyiv. Thus, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said that Amsterdam is discussing with Washington and European partners, including Great Britain and Denmark, the possibility of transferring these machines to Kyiv.
In turn, the publication Politico, citing adviser to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Yuriy Sak, reported that Kyiv expects to receive up to 50 fighters. Subsequently, the representative of the command of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Yuriy Ignat, referring to the estimates of the US military, specified that Ukrainian pilots would need up to four months to learn how to fly the F-16.
Against this background, a number of Western countries announced their intention to begin appropriate training for pilots of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
As Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin said on May 25 at a press conference following a meeting of the group for coordinating arms supplies to Ukraine, Denmark and the Netherlands will lead the European coalition to train Ukrainian pilots. The minister added that Poland, Belgium, Norway and Portugal also intend to take part in this process.
At the same time, the West has not yet decided which countries, when and in what quantity will supply combat vehicles to Ukraine. According to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Washington will discuss these issues with like-minded people in the coming months.
The United States itself has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to transfer aircraft to Ukraine, but will respect the decision of the allies to supply these weapons to Kyiv. Washington also emphasized that the transfer of American fighters to Ukraine is connected with the West’s long-term obligations to Kiev and is not designed for use in a counteroffensive.
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In turn, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on May 23 called the training of pilots for the F-16 an important step, which in the future at a certain stage will allow these aircraft to be transferred to Ukraine. A day later, he said that the decision on the supply of aircraft had not yet been made, and the West’s further steps in this matter would depend on the situation “on the ground.”
It is worth noting that the West also states the fact that the F-16 fighters will not become a miracle weapon for Ukraine. This position was recently outlined by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, Mark Milley, adding that ten such fighters cost $1 billion. Maintenance of these aircraft will cost another $1 billion.
Milli also said that Russia, according to him, has about 1 thousand fourth-generation fighters. Under these conditions, the military believes, the most reasonable option for the West today is to supply Kyiv with a significant amount of integrated air defense systems.
In Moscow, plans to transfer the F-16 to Kyiv were called the next stage in the escalation of the conflict and the destabilization of the situation on the European continent.
“The consequences of Western partners (I mean EU members) are not calculated. They are walking in the American wake, not realizing how such an experiment will end,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on May 24.
“The history of tanks repeated itself”
According to analysts, in the issue of the supply of fighters, the story of the transfer of Western tanks to Kyiv is largely repeated. Earlier, Washington and Brussels also denied the possibility of such equipment appearing in Ukraine, but in the end they announced that Challenger, Leopard and Abrams tracked vehicles would be sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Vladimir Vinokurov expressed the opinion that by transferring planes to Kyiv, the West is trying to use its last opportunities.
“Some high-ranking officials from the Pentagon have already said that one should not expect any incredible results from the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The decision to supply aircraft is more of an ideological nature. This is how the West is trying to show that they support Ukraine as best they can,” the political scientist believes.
Sergey Ermakov drew attention to how the United States is step by step raising the degree of confrontation in Ukraine.
“They raise rates gradually. This is largely due to the fear of causing an escalation with Russia with drastic actions and massive deliveries. In addition, part of the US activities are carried out secretly, as was the case with tanks. Now they simply report on already adopted and agreed projects. As for the Europeans, they act in line with American policy. They are forced to spend more and more on maintaining the Ukrainian conflict,” the analyst said.
Experts also note that the effectiveness and use of the F-16 will depend on what weapons these aircraft will be equipped with.
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“The question is what weapons will be equipped with aircraft and what they will be used for. The F-16 is a fairly old, proven vehicle that can carry different types of weapons in different modifications. It can be either an aircraft to gain air superiority or an aircraft to support the announced offensive. The pilot training program depends on this,” Ermakov explained.
According to him, the most difficult issue for the West will not be the transfer of aircraft to Kyiv, but the deployment of a combat control system in Ukraine.
In turn, Vladimir Vinokurov does not rule out that NATO pilots will fly the planes transferred to Kyiv. “Thus, the West will solve the issue of training Ukrainian pilots. As soon as the planes appear, “instructors” will also come to Ukraine,” the specialist said.
He also did not rule out that when using the F-16, Ukraine will rely on the logistics base created in Poland.
“Here the main question arises for Russia: how to consider Polish airfields, whether to consider them targets,” the analyst argues.
At the same time, he expressed confidence that the transfer of the F-16 would not give the Armed Forces a cardinal advantage. “The delivery of these aircraft will not affect the overall situation in any way. Just as the transfer of tanks did not change the situation. This aircraft is by no means new, and they will not be delivered in mass quantities. In addition, the Russian air defense system works perfectly,” Vinokurov concluded.
Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.
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