Zelenskiy says he struck key deal on pilot training in France By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and French President Emmanuel Macron speak during a meeting of the European Political Community at Mimi Castle in Bulboaca, Moldova June 1, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he had struck a “very important agreement on training our pilots in France” in conversation with President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

“Our coalition of modern fighters is becoming stronger,” he said in his nightly video address.

He did not elaborate on what training would be undertaken. France does not have the F-16 fighter jets Ukraine has recently been promised by Denmark and the Netherlands. It does have French-made Rafale warplanes and previous-generation Mirage 2000 jets.

Zelenskiy said he and Macron had also discussed what France could do to help protect the Ukrainian city and region of Odesa, critical to grain exports, but did not elaborate.

The French foreign ministry said last month that it would reinforce its military support for Ukraine, notably in strengthening air defence capabilities.

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