While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, to attend a NATO meeting, the Danish Ministry of Defense announced today (Tuesday) the formation of an alliance of 11 countries to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighters next August.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense indicated the establishment of a training center for Ukrainian pilots in Romania.
Denmark and the Netherlands, members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), lead the efforts of an international coalition to train pilots, support personnel, maintain aircraft, and eventually provide Ukraine with F-16s.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that it would be absurd not to provide a time frame for Ukraine’s accession to NATO during the alliance’s summit to be held in Vilnius.
Zelensky wrote on the Telegram application, “It would be unprecedented and absurd if a time frame was not set, whether to submit an invitation (to join the alliance) or to Ukraine’s membership,” indicating that he would attend the summit and discuss this clearly.
On the other hand, White House national security spokesman John Kirby confirmed that Ukraine is unlikely to gain membership in NATO in the near future, because that would put NATO in a state of war with Russia.
Kirby told CNN that what can be offered to Ukraine now is to support it militarily until it wins, adding, “We are looking at supporting Ukraine with what is necessary to defend itself in the long term,” noting that Ukraine has a future in NATO.
NATO leaders are holding a summit today in Vilnius, 35 kilometers from the border with Belarus, Moscow’s ally, and not far from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, located between Poland and Lithuania.