U.S. to train F-16 pilots in October, Pentagon says

F-16 fighter jet flying during a military parade in Warsaw.

Nurphoto | Getty Images

The United States will begin flight training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets in October, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The training is set to take place at the Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona, once the pilots receive English-language training.

Norway on Thursday said it would donate F-16s to Ukraine, becoming the third country, after Denmark and the Netherlands, to pledge to fulfill Kyiv’s longstanding request for jets which it says will strengthen its air defenses against Russia.

— Karen Gilchrist

42 Ukrainian drones launched over Crimea, Russia says

Russia’s air defense forces destroyed 42 Ukraine-launched drones over the Crimean Peninsula and one missile over the Kaluga region early on Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“Tonight, an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out terrorist attacks by aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles on the territory of the Russian Federation was thwarted,” the ministry wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

“Air defense systems detected 42 unmanned aerial vehicles. As a result of the fire impact over the territory of the Republic of Crimea, nine UAVs were destroyed, 33 were suppressed by electronic warfare and crashed without reaching the target,” it added.

Earlier, the Defense Ministry said it had shot down a Ukraine-launched missile over the Kaluga region, which borders the Moscow region.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the attacks. CNBC could not independently verify the reports.

— Karen Gilchrist

Putin offers condolences following plane crash believed to have killed Prigozhin

FILE – Businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, left, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, around his factory which produces school meals, outside St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday, Sept. 20, 2010.

Alexei Druzhinin | AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued condolences following the plane crash that is believed to have killed Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin, who was once Putin’s personal chef and confidant, was in exile following an attempt two months ago to attack the Russian capital over frustrations with the Kremlin’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

“With regard to this plane crash, first of all, I want to express my sincere condolences to the families of all the victims. It’s always a tragedy,” Putin said in a speech.

The Russian leader said preliminary evidence indicates that those on the flight were employees of the Wagner company.

“I’ve known Prigozhin for a long time, since the early ’90’s,” Putin said. “He was a talented man, a talented businessman. He worked not only in our country — and with result but also abroad,” he added, referencing Prigozhin’s contracts in Africa.

Putin added that there was an investigation already underway into the explosion that brought down the private jet.

— Amanda Macias

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