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Rutte: Pledged F-16s to arrive in Romania for pilot training in 2 weeks

by Nate Ostiller October 30, 2023 8:09 PM 1 min read
U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly in formation during U.S.-Philippines joint air force exercises dubbed Cope Thunder at Clark Air Base on May 9, 2023, in Mabalacat, Philippines. (Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
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The F-16 fighter jets that the Netherlands pledged to Ukraine will be delivered to Romania in two weeks for Ukrainian pilots to train on, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Oct. 30.

Their delivery was confirmed during a video call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, where the two leaders discussed a number of other issues.

Rutte emphasized that "the Netherlands will continue to support Ukraine in the face of continued Russian aggression, as much and for as long as necessary."

Rutte promised that "the devastating situation in Israel and Gaza will not divert our attention away from Ukraine. The existential need to push back against Russian aggression is still our priority, both for Ukraine and for the security of Europe as a whole."

The Netherlands and Denmark are leading the allied efforts to provide Ukraine with the fourth-generation American jets.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Oct. 11 that the Netherlands would deliver "12 to 18 aircraft to Romania" in the coming weeks so that pilots can begin training.

The Dutch provision of F-16s is part of an international coalition aimed at training Ukrainian pilots.

Although the pace of F-16 procurement and training has picked up, it's estimated that the first Ukrainian pilots to undergo F-16 jet fighter training will not be ready to fly them until summer 2024.

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