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F-16 aircrafts during a military parade on Polish Armed Forces Day in Warsaw, Poland on Aug. 15, 2023. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Belgium may ship the first F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine later this year, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo and Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder confirmed on April 26, according to the Belgian news outlet RTBF.

Belgium was among the first countries to join the F-16 training coalition established in the summer of 2023 to bolster Ukraine's Air Force. The initiative was spearheaded by the U.S., Denmark, and the Netherlands.

"In coordination with our partners in the F-16 coalition, our country will make every effort to speed up deliveries, if possible, by the end of this year," Dedonder said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also announced at the Ramstein-format summit on April 26 that "more than a squadron" of donated F-16s will start to arrive in Ukraine this year, along with trained pilots and maintainers, thanks to the work of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

The announcement accompanies news that the U.S. has prepared an immediate military aid package worth $1 billion to send to Ukraine, and a $6 billion weapons package under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) that will provide arms to Kyiv in the next few years.

The Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway have also pledged to supply Ukraine with dozens of U.S.-made fourth-generation jets, though the exact timeline and number of planes to be sent have remained unclear.

Last October, Belgium said that it would provide Ukraine with several F-16 fighter jets, without specifying a number, and help with the training for Ukrainian pilots in EU countries. In October 2023, Dedonder said that the first batch of F-16s from Brussels were expected to arrive to Ukraine in 2025.

The Belgian government approved in late March the 25th assistance package for Ukraine, which contains 100 million euros ($107 million) for the maintenance and support of F-16 fighter jets.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article said that the United States and Belgium were sending F-16s to Ukraine in 2024. The U.S. announced that F-16s from allies would arrive this year, not that it is sending the planes. The error has been corrected.

F-16s for Ukraine: When will they arrive and what can they do?
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is an American air superiority fighter that Kyiv has begged for since the start of the full-scale invasion and is expected to finally start receiving this year. It’s a versatile workhorse of a jet that’s fought in dozens of wars and is

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