U.S. green light for Denmark and Netherlands to transfer F-16s to Ukraine
The United States said Friday it had given the green light for Denmark and the Netherlands to send U.S. F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, once Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly them.
A Dutch Air Force F-16, at the Volkel base in the Netherlands, June 9, 2023. © PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW / REUTERS
Text by: RFI Follow
A US State Department spokesman said Denmark and the Netherlands had received "formal assurances" on the matter. "In this way, Ukraine will be able to take full advantage of its new capabilities as soon as the first group of pilots completes its training. The F-16s will contribute to Ukraine's defence and deterrence capabilities," the spokesman added.
The date on which the Ukrainian pilots will finish their training is not yet known. The training, by an 11-nation coalition, was due to begin this month, and officials said they hoped the pilots would be ready by early 2024.
Great news from our friends in the United States! ", quickly welcomed on X (ex-Twitter) the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov. Kiev tirelessly demanded these planes to support its counter-offensive on the front.
Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren welcomed the green light on Friday. "This allows us to get things done on the issue of training Ukrainian pilots," she told X. But "everything takes time," Ollongren told Dutch news agency ANP. It will take several months before the Netherlands can actually send F-16s, she said, according to the ANP.
The U.S. has strict rules on the resale or transfer of U.S. military equipment by allies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in July that the delivery of F-16 fighter jets would be considered by Moscow a "nuclear" threat.
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