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Netherlands to join Latvia-led drone coalition for Ukraine

by Elsa Court February 14, 2024 3:04 PM 2 min read
An operator carries a reusable airstrike drone called Punisher made by the Ukrainian company UA Dynamics during a test in Kyiv region on Aug. 11, 2023. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)
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The Netherlands will join a Latvia-led coalition to supply Ukraine with advanced military drone technology, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told Reuters on Feb. 14.

Latvia is building a coalition of about 20 countries who will work together to bolster Ukraine's arsenal of drones. According to Reuters, Britain is also joining the coalition.

While Russia is able to mobilize more soldiers and has more conventional ammunition at its disposal than Ukraine, Kyiv is bolstering its technological capabilities on the battlefield, in particular through its use of military drones. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on Feb. 6 creating a separate branch of Ukraine's Armed Forces dedicated to drones.

Amid uncertainties over Western military aid deliveries, Ukraine has intensified its efforts to ramp up domestic production of attack drones, aiming to manufacture 1 million drones this year.

Ollongren told Reuters that the Netherlands is joining the drone coalition to "increase production, use the latest technology, and to provide exactly what Ukraine needs."

"The Netherlands will contribute high-tech expertise from the commercial sector," but Ollongren did not provide technical or financial details, Reuters said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in October 2023 that more than 200 Ukrainian companies have begun developing drones, fueling a massive increase in production and technical innovation.

The Netherlands and Denmark led the establishment of the "fighter jet coalition" for Ukraine in July 2023, which provides training for Ukrainian pilots and technical staff to operate F-16 jets.

As of February 2024, the Netherlands has pledged to send 24 F-16 to Ukraine. Denmark has also pledged to give Ukraine 19 F-16s, with the first batch of six aircraft expected to be delivered in spring 2024 and the rest by 2025.

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