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The delivery of F-16s to Ukraine could take anywhere from six to eight months due to prerequisites that need to be met before the jets make their way to Ukraine, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told European Pravda in an interview.
Ollongren said that while pilot training has already begun, the number of pilots trained needs to increase so that there are enough trained personnel to use the F-16 fighters in combat.
Following Denmark’s pledge to provide Ukraine with the jets, eight Ukrainian pilots and 65 personnel arrived at a military base in Skrydstrup to begin training on the jets, the Danish Armed Forces announced on Aug. 22.
Kajsa also said that work is underway in Ukraine to build the proper infrastructure and advanced weapon systems for the fighter jets—crucial for their use in the war.
"From the Netherlands' perspective, we need all prerequisites to be met first. Namely, that the crews are trained, that we understand that the infrastructure is ready, and that we have not only the aircraft but also spare parts, the necessary weapons for them, and so on. With this in mind, we have realistic expectations for next year," the Minister told European Pravda.
Ollongren highlighted ongoing discussions about the specific transfer terms, which includes multiple countries.
"We have not yet decided on the exact terms, and it depends not only on us. This is also an issue where the United States has an important voice. And where Ukraine's voice also counts," she said.
Denmark and the Netherlands have pledged to provide dozens of their own F-16s to bolster the Ukrainian Air Force. On Aug. 24, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store confirmed that his country would provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.