France will supply Mirage 2000-5 jets to Ukraine and train pilots


PARIS – France plans to deliver Mirage 2000-5 jets to Ukraine and start training pilots this summer, with initial training completed by the end of the year, French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday.

France is building a coalition with other countries to supply the jets, similar to the coalition of several other European countries to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighters, Macron said in an interview with broadcasters TF1 and France 2. The French president and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Normandy D-Day commemorations.

“We will launch a new cooperation program and announce the transfer of Mirage 2000-5s – French fighter jets that will allow Ukraine to protect its soil and airspace,” Macron said. “From tomorrow we will launch a pilot training program, followed by the handover of these aircraft.”

Dassault Aviation produced approximately 600 Mirage 2000 jets, half of which were exported to eight countries including Greece, the United Arab Emirates and Taiwan. The Mirage 2000-5 is an updated air defense variant with improved radar. It is compatible with the Mica air-to-air missile and the Scalp cruise missiles that France has supplied to Ukraine. repelling a Russian invasion.

Macron declined to say how many planes France will supply, noting that details will follow on Friday when Zelenskyy is in Paris.

“The key factor is the training time of pilots, and that is why we are going to propose to President Zelenskyy to train pilots as early as this summer – normally this takes five to six months – so that they will be able to train pilots by the end of the year. be able to fly these planes,” Macron said, adding that the Ukrainian pilots will be trained in France.

The Dutch and Danish governments announced last year that they would supply F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, with Norway and Belgium joining the coalition. Pilots are being trained for the aircraft in various European countries.

France will also propose to train and equip a brigade of 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers, according to Macron. He said France and its allies are considering training soldiers on Ukrainian territory in response to a request from the embattled country.

“Is this something that is an escalation factor? The answer is no,” Macron said. “Training someone in the western zone, a free area of ​​Ukraine, is not aggressive towards Russia.”

Macron said Ukraine could use French weapons to attack locations in Russia from which the country is targeted, and restricting such use would be tantamount to not allowing Ukrainians to defend themselves from bombing.

“The limit is determined by what the Russians do,” Macron said. “We are not the ones who now decide that we are going to change our methods and attack Ukraine from Russian territory.”

Zelenskyy will meet with French Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu in Paris on Friday. He will also meet with defense companies KNDS, Thales, MBDA, Dassault Aviation and Arquus, and attend the signing of a letter of intent with KNDS to establish a unit in Ukraine, the Ministry of the Armed Forces said.

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