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Belgium to provide Ukraine with F-16 jets from 2025

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 11, 2023 3:10 PM 1 min read
Three Belgian F-16 jets in a training flight before the July 21 Belgian National Day parade in Brussels, 2023. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
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Belgium will provide Ukraine with several F-16 fighter jets, with the first ones expected to arrive in 2025, Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder told RTL info on Oct. 11.

The minister did not specify the number of the planes Belgium intends to send but said that the transfer will depend on "the build-up of our new F-35 capabilities."

Ukrainian pilots will receive training in Belgium, Denmark, and several other EU countries, Dedonder said.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov discussed the provision of F-16s and the training of pilots with Dedonder in a phone call on Oct. 10.

On Sept. 15, Dedonder announced Belgium's participation in the international coalition assembled to train Ukrainian personnel on F-16 fighter jets.

Shortly after, on Sept. 21, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the nation was considering providing F-16 aircraft to Ukraine, despite earlier reports that the jets in Belgium's arsenal were too old for combat.

Kyiv has placed high hopes on the fighter jets, which could shift the balance in the war by lending the Ukrainian military air superiority in the occupied territories.

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