Portugal has announced its participation in the so-called combat aircraft coalition, offering its help in training Ukrainian pilots and engineers.
This was discussed in a meeting between Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, and his Portuguese counterpart João Gomes Cravinho and the country’s Defense Minister, Helena Carreiras, reports European Pravda.
During the meeting, Kuleba briefed the Portuguese interlocutors on the situation at the front and outlined Ukraine’s military needs for effective defense and counterattack.
“Portugal has shown its leadership by joining the tank coalition. Given the intensification of Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian cities and towns, it is of vital importance that Ukraine has the ability to outplay Russia in the Ukrainian sky,” she stated.
With this in mind, Kuleba expressed his gratitude to the Portuguese government for its decision to “join the air-naval coalition training Ukrainian pilots and engineers on Western fighter planes,” reports the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
Earlier this week, the UK announced the launch of an international coalition of countries aimed at acquiring F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. So far, it includes the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and the United States.
On Friday, US President Joe Biden confirmed at the G7 summit in Japan that Washington will participate in an allied initiative to train Ukrainian pilots in fourth-generation fighters, including the F-16.
On May 17, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte agreed to create an international coalition to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. The coalition will be formed already this year, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
According to Kuleba, some of Ukraine’s allies have expressed a willingness to train Ukrainian soldiers how to operate Western fighter jets, and other countries are ready to provide the aircraft.
Earlier, the UK promised to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets this summer, and France has also “opened the door” for such training.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte welcomed Lisbon’s decision and assured that Ukraine could count on the unwavering support of its international partners.