More than 1,600 Ukrainians have been trained by French military personnel in Poland since February, according to press reports.
The training camp was opened in February, and so far, at least 1,600 Ukrainians have been trained there, reports French paper Le Monde. Paris has been meticulously maintaining discretion in this matter for the past few months, but due to the visit of French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu to Poland, the French mission was first disclosed to the press.
“These trainings will continue as long as necessary,” said Lecornu. He added that “Ukrainians are fighting for themselves, for their country, and also for European values.”
The exact location of the facility is kept secret, but the minister revealed that since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Paris has trained 5,200 soldiers, including 1,600 in Poland and 3,600 on French territory.
It is known that for the needs of the French mission, one of the former Soviet military bases in Poland has been renovated. There are supposed to be 120 French instructors and 80 support personnel in Poland. French instructors stay in tents, while the Ukrainians are housed in permanent quarters. The plans include training about 500 Ukrainians every five weeks.
In the second half of May, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, announced that Poland is training Ukrainians to fly F-16 aircraft.
“I am glad that the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s has finally started in several countries. It will take some time, but the sooner, the better,” he said.
When asked by journalists to specify which exact countries are conducting training for Ukrainian military personnel, Borrell replied, “In many, for example Poland.” The EU’s foreign policy chief also stated that F-16 fighter jets are “an absolute necessity for Ukrainians to be able to defend themselves further.”
As part of the assistance from the European Union, member states are expected to train approximately 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers within a year.