Belgium is ready to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, but cannot provide Ukraine with this type of aircraft, DeMorgen said, citing the office of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.
The Belgian Prime Minister said in the office that during the summit in The Hague earlier this month, the F-16 issue was also discussed during a meeting between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Prime Minister. The Belgium side said it cannot supply aircraft, but it can train pilots.
The Belgian Air Force has been using F-16s from the U.S. manufacturer Lockheed Martin since the late 1970s, so they have a lot of experience with these aircraft, the newspaper said.
The reason why Belgium cannot deliver F-16s to Ukraine is that all Belgian aircraft are in operation, in particular to protect the airspace of the Benelux and Baltic countries.
The Belgian army has about 50 F-16 fighter jets. In the coming years, these fighter jets will be gradually replaced by 34 new F-35s.
Sending U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine requires permission from Washington.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron announced their readiness to train Ukrainian pilots to fly modern Western fighters.