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Pentagon will train Ukrainians to fly F-16 jets, but warns 'there are no magic weapons'

The Pentagon announced the U.S. military will be helping Ukraine learn how to operate F-16 fighter jets.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed Thursday that Ukraine is receiving training for the use of F-16s in aerial combat. However, defense officials cautioned that catching Ukraine up on the aircraft technology will not be a “magic” fix to the war. 

“There are no magic weapons,” said Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

He added, “The Russians have a thousand fourth and fifth-generation fighters, so if you’re going to contest Russia in the air, you’re going to need a substantial amount of fourth and fifth-generation fighters.”

UKRAINE SET TO RECEIVE LONG-RANGE CRUISE MISSILES FROM THE UK: ‘WE WILL NOT STAND BY’

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin delivers a statement to the press at the Israel Aerospace Industries headquarters near the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. (GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

“We expect more countries to join this important initiative,” Austin said. 

The defense secretary went on to call the initiative “an important example of our long-term commitment to Ukraine security.”

The U.K. government has said the country will not provide aircraft for battle, but it has committed to help train Ukrainian pilots.

“[Ukrainians] need the sustained support of the international community to defend against the barrage of unrelenting and indiscriminate attacks that have been their daily reality for over a year,” the prime minister said.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.S. President Joe Biden

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, and President Biden shake hands at Mariinsky Palace on an unannounced visit, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Evan Vucci/Pool via REUTERS)

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