Norway says it will help train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets

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Norway's Air Force F-16 fighter patrols over the Baltics during a NATO air policing mission from Zokniai air base near Siauliai

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway will support training programmes for Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, Norwegian Defence Minister Bjoern Arild Gram said on Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday endorsed training programmes for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy assured Biden that the aircraft would not be used to go into Russian territory.

"The government backs this initiative and is considering how Norway can contribute together with allies and partners," Gram said.

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The Norwegian government has not decided whether Norway will give any of its F-16 jets to Ukraine, the minister separately told public broadcaster NRK.

Russia, whose forces invaded Ukraine 15 months ago, has said any transfer of the U.S.-made F-16s to Ukraine would be pointless and raise the question of NATO's role in the war.

(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Grant McCool)