Denmark and the Netherlands will provide Ukraine with F16 aircraft. This was announced by the Danish Ministry of Defense and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, on Sunday. The fighter jets, which have been in demand by Ukraine for a long time, are intended to help defend Ukrainian airspace, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. Denmark will work to ensure that other countries join the coalition and make a contribution to the Ukrainian struggle for freedom.
"The Netherlands and Denmark are committed to handing over F-16s to Ukraine as soon as the conditions for such a transfer are met," Rutte said during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to an air base in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Selenskyj spoke of a breakthrough. He therefore expects 42 jets to be delivered to the country after the Ukrainian pilots have been trained.
"Today will be concrete. They will be in the Ukrainian sky. Thank you Netherlands! Thank you Mark! Thank you everyone who is helping," he said. Rutte and he had agreed on the delivery of the jet. "This is just the beginning," he said.
The United States gave the green light on Friday for Denmark and the Netherlands to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. In May, Washington basically cleared the way for training on US-made fighter jets.
"I am proud that Denmark, together with the Netherlands, will donate F16 fighter jets to Ukraine's struggle for freedom against Russia and its senseless aggression. Denmark's support for Ukraine is unwavering, and with the donation of F16 fighter jets, Denmark now goes with it set a good example," said Denmark's Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. Together with the Netherlands, Denmark launched the international training coalition of eleven countries for F16 fighter jets.
"We agree to hand over F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Air Force, in close cooperation with the US and other partners, when the conditions for such a handover are met," the statement said. These terms included, among other things, successfully selected, tested and trained Ukrainian F-16 personnel, as well as the necessary permits, infrastructure and logistics.
Since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression, Kiev has been demanding modern F-16 jets from its western allies for military support in the fight against the Russian war of aggression, especially for its air defenses. US F-16 fighter jets are capable of targeting Russian weapon systems and ships used in attacks on southern Ukraine, a Ukrainian army spokeswoman said in late July.
Russia had warned against delivering F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would view such a move as a "nuclear" threat given the fighter jets' ability to carry nuclear weapons.
Note: This article has been updated several times.