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Netherlands to provide its first F-16s to Ukraine in summer, Dutch minister says

by Martin Fornusek June 12, 2024 10:51 AM 2 min read
F-16 aircrafts during a military parade on Polish Armed Forces Day in Warsaw, Poland on Aug. 15, 2023. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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The Netherlands will deliver its first F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine already this summer, shortly after Denmark, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in an interview with European Pravda published on June 12.

The minister presented a more pessimistic timeframe in May when she said that the first Dutch F-16s would start flowing to Ukraine only in autumn.

The Netherlands has pledged to deliver 24 of its fourth-generation U.S.-made jets to Ukraine as Kyiv seeks to bolster its Air Force, in addition to F-16s promised by Denmark, Belgium, and Norway.

As Ollongren explained, the joint plan evinsages Denmark supplying its aircraft first and the Netherlands starting its continuous deliveries right afterward, as early as this summer. She did not provide a more specific timeframe.

The minister said that everything is "moving according to plan" regarding the preparation of Ukrainian infrastructure and technical personnel needed to operate the aircraft.

Ollongren reiterated her country's position that Ukraine will be able to use Dutch-supplied F-16s "to target military targets – when necessary for self-defense – that are on the other side of the border" with Russia.

In turn, Belgium previously said that its F-16s may be used by Ukraine only within Ukrainian territory.

According to Politico, Kyiv is growing frustrated with the slow pace of training Ukrainian pilots in the U.S. and elsewhere, which threatens to further delay the supply of F-16s.

Ollongren also added during the interview that this was her last visit to Ukraine as the Dutch defense minister, a position she held in Mark Rutte's decisively pro-Kyiv cabinet since January 2022.

The largest party in the incoming coalition government is the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV), which has often been critical of the support for Ukraine. The leaders of the new coalition issued a statement in May where they pledged to maintain their support for Kyiv.

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