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Netherlands to purchase 4 radars to bolster Ukraine's air defense

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 14, 2023 7:44 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, during a visit to a military base in Soesterberg, Netherlands, on Thursday, May 4, 2023. (Photographer: Peter Boer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The Dutch Defense Ministry will purchase four VERA-EG radar systems for Ukraine worth a total of 150 million euros ($162.9 million) for Ukraine's air defense, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren wrote in a letter to the Dutch parliament on June 14.

The systems can detect objects up to 400 kilometers with an accuracy of up to 20 meters, according to Ukrainian defense website Militarnyi.

The systems don't emit electromagnetic energy, making them hard to detect, according to ERA, the radar's producer.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren told Reuters in a June 12 interview published on June 12 that the Netherlands and other allies hoped to start F-16 fighter jet training for Ukrainian pilots this summer.

In May, the U.S. and several European countries agreed to build an international coalition to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine and train Ukrainian fighter pilots.

"This summer is our ambition. And we'll see if that's realistic,"  Ollongren said, adding that the program would ideally be fully operational within six months.

The training program, backed by the U.S., includes Belgium and Luxembourg. France and the U.K. have also offered their assistance, Ollongren added.

According to the defense minister, Denmark is one possible location for the training program, given that F-16 flight simulators are located there.

"It is a very strong weapons system. It's a very strong capability. But it's not going to be available anytime soon, and President (Volodymyr) Zelensky, of course, knows that," Ollongren said.

Ukraine's allies hope that supplying weapons like more advanced fighter jets will not only bolster Ukraine's chances of victory in the war against Russia but also discourage any future aggression from Russia.

During a press conference in late May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the Netherlands was "seriously considering" giving F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Ukraine has received 14 MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and 13 from Slovakia but has been pushing for more advanced aircraft. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has previously said it requires at least 48 F-16 fighter jets to liberate territory from Russia.

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