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Dutch PM: Netherlands 'seriously considering' giving F-16s to Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 26, 2023 11:20 PM 2 min read
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at a festival on May 5, 202 in Zwolle, Netherlands. (Photo: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference on May 26 that the Netherlands was "seriously considering" giving F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands has already committed to training Ukrainian pilots on how to operate F-16s, and "if you start training it's obvious that (sending F-16s) is something you are seriously considering," Rutte added.

The final decision rests on securing approval from the United States, the producer of the F-16 fighter jet, much like how Western allies had to seek approval from Germany for the provision of Leopard tanks.

The U.K. and the Netherlands agreed on May 17 to build a "fighter jet coalition" for Ukraine. On May 20, the U.S. also declared that it would join the initiative, as did Portugal and Denmark.

So far, Ukraine has received 14 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and 13 from Slovakia. However, Ukraine has shown the most interest in F-16 fighter jets.

Critics argue that allies' reluctance to supply Western fighter jets and long-range missiles to Ukraine may prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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