Ukraine's neighbor Romania opens F-16 jet pilot training facility

A training facility for F-16 fighter jet pilots, including some from Ukraine, has opened in neighboring Romania.

A ceremony was held on Monday to mark the opening of the F-16 training center established at an air base in Romania.

An aerial drill was staged involving two F-16s from the Romanian military. The US aircraft maker Lockheed Martin sent instructors to the facility.

Ukraine sees the US-made warplanes as a key part of its counteroffensive strategy against Russia. Countries including the Netherlands have pledged to send F-16 jets to Ukraine, and Ukrainian military pilots are training in the United States, Denmark and elsewhere.

Training at the new facility is scheduled to begin first for Romanian military pilots, and then for those from Ukraine's military.

Dutch defense minister Kajsa Ollongren said she understands that Ukraine needs F-16 jets to boost its air defense capabilities while fighting Russia. She said she wants to see training begin as soon as possible for Ukrainian pilots.

A Lockheed Martin official noted that the facility will be a place where pilots from any country can come to be trained effectively.