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Dutch PM: Netherlands, Denmark to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets

by Alexander Khrebet August 20, 2023 6:33 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief André Steur after inspecting two F-16 fighter jets at the air base in Eindhoven on Aug. 20. (Photo: President's Office)
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The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Aug. 20 the Netherlands and Denmark would provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets once conditions for the transfer have been met.

"Today we can announce that the Netherlands and Denmark commit to the transfer of F-16 aircraft to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Air Force," he said in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a military air base in Eindhoven.

Rutte added that he wanted the training for F-16 jets and their delivery to Ukraine to take place as soon as possible.

He didn't specify the number of aircraft, however. Earlier that day, Zelensky said in Telegram posts that Ukraine would receive 42 F-16s in a “breakthrough agreement.”

Rutte also said that the Netherlands Air Forces has a total of 42 F-16s, but it is too early to tell whether all of them will be delivered to Kyiv.

The Danish Defense Ministry also confirmed on Aug. 20 its commitment to delivering F-16s to Ukraine when the conditions are met.

Conditions include but are not limited to successfully selected, tested, and trained Ukrainian F-16 personnel and necessary authorizations, infrastructure, and logistics, according to the ministry.

"It makes me proud that Denmark, together with the Netherlands, will donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine's freedom struggle against Russia and their senseless aggression. Denmark's support for Ukraine is unwavering, and with the donation of F-16 aircraft, Denmark is now leading the way," Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said.

The Netherlands and Denmark confirmed on Aug. 18 they had received approval from the U.S. to hand over their F-16s to Ukraine after pilots and engineers are trained.

Ukraine has been lobbying to receive U.S.-made F-16s since the first days of Russia's full-scale invasion.  Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said F-16 fighter jets could help counter Russia's air superiority, which is necessary to achieve success on the battlefield.

Ukrainian pilots, engineers, and technicians have already started a six-month training session on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on national television on Aug. 19.

Ukraine's Air Force comprises Soviet-made aircraft and is outnumbered by Russia's larger air force, thwarting Ukraine's ability to conduct counter-offensives.

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