Russia-Ukraine war news: Kyiv’s wait for F-16 pilot training drags

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The first group of Ukrainian pilots learning to fly the F16 is not expected to complete their training before next summer. This image shows the cockpit of a Danish F-16 fighter jet near Vojens, Denmark. Copenhagen and Amsterdam have volunteered to lead the training efforts of Ukrainian pilots. (Bo Amstrup / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP via Getty Images)

A first group of six Ukrainian pilots is not expected to finish training on the U.S.-made F-16 before next summer, after delays in an instruction program for the fighter jets, The Washington Post reports. Kyiv will probably go another year without the aircraft, a process that one Ukrainian official said was “dragging it out.” In the United States, President Biden has asked Congress to approve $20.6 billion more in funding for Ukraine.

In Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said fragments of an intercepted missile hit a children’s hospital as air raid warnings sounded in the capital Friday. Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said first responders rushed to the scene and there were no initial reports of casualties.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

The Ukrainian pilots must first undertake English lessons in Britain before going through combat training, officials said. Although the pilots are fluent in English, they will learn terminology associated with the jets. Ground staff who may be less proficient in English will also receive the same training, The Post reported.

Another 20 Ukrainian pilots are ready for English training, U.S. officials said. But most of Ukraine’s best pilots are expected to remain in Ukraine, where they are flying sorties in Soviet-developed planes, and firing French SCALP and British Storm Shadow missiles. The aviation chief for Ukraine’s air force told The Post that Ukrainian pilots have been taking English classes online for the past year.

Of the additional U.S. funding Biden requested, $13 billion will be allocated to military aid. The United States has committed more than $60 billion in aid to Ukraine during the war.

The co-founder of Russian technology giant Yandex called the war in Ukraine “barbaric,” in a rare display of dissent among the Russian elite. Arkady Volozh, who has lived in Tel Aviv since 2014, told the Bell, a news outlet focused on Russia, that he had friends and family in Ukraine and was “horrified by the fact that every day bombs fly into the homes of Ukrainians.” Volozh co-founded Yandex, which provides search and a variety of other online services, in 1997, earning billions in the process. He resigned from the company last year after being placed under E.U. sanctions. He said he felt a “share of responsibility” for Russia’s actions.

Ukrainian forces have recaptured the heights over Bakhmut and are successfully encircling Russian troops in the eastern city, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told the Guardian. Maliar said Russian soldiers could no longer move around Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region, and that progress was being made in outflanking enemy forces after months of deadly battle. The Washington Post could not immediately verify the claims..

Russian air defenses shot down two drones targeting Moscow, and intercepted 11 drones over the annexed Crimean peninsula, Moscow said. Thursday’s episode is the latest in a spate of drone attacks which Russian officials said targeted Moscow, blaming Ukraine. Kyiv has not officially claimed responsibility, although Ukrainian officials have described targets in Russia as part of the war.

A strike in Zaporizhzhia killed at least one person, and injured at least nine people when it hit a local hotel on Thursday, according to officials in the southeastern Ukrainian region.

Almost 1,000 Ukrainian Marines are returning home after a six-month training in Britain, the U.K. Defense Ministry said Friday in a news release. The marines received training that included conducting beach raids using inflatable boats. Ukrainian units have had to cross waterways when attacking Russian positions, including the Dnieper River.

The United Kingdom will host an energy conference around the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the British government said in a news release. Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps will invite senior government ministers and industry bosses to the London Energy Security Conference, it said. The conference will focus on green energy and energy security. The announcement follows European efforts to reduce dependence on Russian energy.

A look at the amount of U.S. spending powering Ukraine’s defense: The United States has committed more than $60 billion to Ukraine during the war, more than the United States distributes in aid to any other country, Ruby Mellen and Artur Galocha report.

The amount includes $43.1 billion in military support and over $20 billion in economic assistance. But while Washington is the leading donor to Ukraine, other countries have provided a much larger share of their GDP to fund Kyiv’s efforts.

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