Europe

Russia to train female fighter pilots

A Russian boy waves flag with slogan "Russia forward" as "The Russian Knights" an aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Air Force perform during the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon Image copyright EPA
Image caption The decision means women could one day fly with The Russian Knights, the air force's aerobatic demonstration team

Russia is to accept female fighter pilots into its Air Force for the first time since the World War Two.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said women were being accepted after the military received "hundreds of letters" expressing interest in enrolling.

There will be 15 women in the first group, which starts training in October, Mr Shoigu said.

During WW2, Russian female pilots were known as "Stalin's Falcons". German troops called them "Night Witches".

This new generation of fighter pilots will be trained at the Krasnodar military aviation school, in the south of the country.

The academy has been accepting women since 2009, the state news agency Tass reported, but not for pilot training.

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