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Ukraine can use Netherlands' F-16s to strike inside Russia as self-defense, Dutch minister says

by Chris York May 31, 2024 11:51 AM 2 min read
F-16 Tiger Demo Team performs on the first day of NATO Days in Ostrava & Czech Air Force Days in Czechia on Sept. 16, 2023. Illustrative purposes only. (Lukas Kabon/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The Netherlands would not object to Ukraine using Dutch-supplied F-16 fighter jets to strike targets inside Russia as a means of self-defense, Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot said on May 31.

"If you have the right to self-defense, there are no borders for the use of weapons. This is a general principle," she said at an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Prague in comments reported by RFE/RL.

Bruins Slot's comments come a day after Denmark said Ukraine may use Danish-supplied F-16 jets to strike military targets in Russian territory, as this would be "within the rules of war."

Over recent weeks, Ukraine has called for its partners to allow strikes on Russian territory with Western weapons.

The Pentagon on May 30 insisted there has been no change in policy after several U.S. news outlets reported the White House had secretly partially lifted the ban on Ukraine striking Russian territory with American weapons.

Citing unnamed American officials, Politico reported on May 30 that President Joe Biden's administration had given the go-ahead for Kyiv to attack targets inside Russia but "solely near the area of Kharkiv."

The Netherlands plans to start delivering its F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine this autumn after Denmark begins transferring its aircraft already in the summer, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said during a press briefing in Vilnius, Delfi reported on May 6.

Previously, 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.

The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium have pledged to supply Ukraine with dozens of F-16 jets.

Denmark, the Netherlands, and the U.S. have led an international coalition established last year to provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots.

Pentagon says ‘no change’ in policy banning Ukraine from striking Russia with US arms
When asked by reporters on May 30 if there had been a shift in Pentagon policy, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said there had been “no change,” without specifically mentioning attacks near the Kharkiv region.

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