The UK government said Wednesday that it will start training Ukrainian pilots on NATO-standard fighter jets.
CNN understands that this would be the first official training program for Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter aircraft.
However, there was no mention of providing Ukraine with fighter jets, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has asked.
The announcement came on the day Zelensky is set to visit the UK for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion began on February 24 last year. It will be only his second trip outside Ukraine since then.
“As part of today’s talks, the Prime Minister will offer to bolster the UK’s training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future,” Downing Street’s Wednesday announcement said.
“The training will ensure pilots are able to fly sophisticated NATO-standard fighter jets in the future.”
The US has not yet launched any training program for Ukrainian pilots, Brigadier General Pat Ryder confirmed last month.
Also on Wednesday, the UK government announced that it will provide Ukraine with “longer range capabilities,” without going into details.
“This will disrupt Russia’s ability to continually target Ukraine’s civilian and critical national infrastructure and help relieve pressure on Ukraine’s frontlines.”