U.S. ambassador says Ukraine pilots training on F16s

Oct 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine said on Thursday that Ukrainian pilots were undergoing training in the United States on F-16 fighter aircraft, a key element on Kyiv's wish list to secure the weaponry it needs in its war against Russia.The U.S. approved sending F-16s fighter jets to Ukraine from the Netherlands and Denmark in August once pilot training is completed."Ukrainian pilots are now training with the Arizona Air National Guard on F-16s," Ambassador Bridget Brink said on X, formerly Twitter."This is an essential part of building Ukraine's air defense. The United States is proud to work w/ European partners to support Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression."Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the 20-month-old war last June and has retaken a number of villages in the eastern and southern theatres, but at a much slower pace than a rapid advance through occupied northeastern Ukraine a year ago.The country is still subject to missile and drone attacks striking infrastructure, including its power generating network, as well as other targets.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has pledged to build an "F-16 coalition" and the Netherlands and Denmark have been among those taking the lead in offering to provide the fighters. Ukraine's air force is made up mostly of Soviet-era aircraft. (Reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)