The Netherlands and Denmark will supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte confirmed on Sunday after a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Eindhoven Air Base. It is the first time that a Western country has promised to provide Ukraine with modern fighter jets.
Rutte would not say how many aircraft it concerns or when they will be delivered. “This is not something for the very short term,” said Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren on Friday.
Zelenskyy has long requested the delivery of F-16s. Earlier, the government in Kyiv already received Russian-made warplanes from former Eastern Bloc countries.
The Dutch F-16s are becoming redundant because they are currently being replaced by F-35s. The Royal Netherlands Air Force still has 42 F-16s, of which 24 are in an operational state, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense.
Together with Denmark, the Netherlands is leading a coalition with 11 other NATO allies that is teaching Ukrainians how to fly an F-16. Last week, the United States gave permission to deliver F-16s to Ukraine.
Reporting by ANP