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Dutch Defense Minister: Netherlands already shipping drones to Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert February 20, 2024 6:11 AM 1 min read
Kajsa Ollongren, Dutch Defense Minister, at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17, 2024. (Olena Zashko / The Kyiv Independent)
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The Netherlands has already begun supplying Ukraine with drones for its defense against Russia, Dutch Defense Minister Kasja Ollongren said on Feb. 19.

The Netherlands announced on Feb. 14 that it would take part in a coalition led by Latvia to provide Ukraine with advanced military drone technology.

"I can't tell you the exact number, but we are already sending drones to Ukraine," Ollongren told the Baltic news outlet Delfi in an interview.

"Of course, I think this drone coalition is very important, because now we will join forces, which means we will be able to increase the number of drones and also to specify them according to Ukraine's needs."

Latvia is building a coalition of about 20 countries who will work together to strengthen Kyiv's arsenal of drones. There are currently eight members, including the United Kingdom and Sweden.

Drones are a key part of Ukraine's strategy to overcome Russian manpower by bolstering its technological capabilities on the battlefield. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Feb. 6 creating a separate branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones.

Ollongren said it made sense for the Netherlands to join this coalition, given its participation in other groups aimed at supplying Kyiv with advanced weapons systems.

The Netherlands took the lead along with Denmark in establishing a coalition focused on F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. As of February 2024, the Netherlands has pledged to send 24 F-16s to Ukraine.

Ollongren said she is confident the first transfers of the jets will take place this year.

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