Dutch, Belgian, Danish F-16s for Ukraine under U.S-U.K. Leadership

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 09:34 AM, May 20, 2023
  • 747
Dutch, Belgian, Danish F-16s for Ukraine under U.S-U.K. Leadership

The U.S. has reportedly agreed to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 operation while few of its allies – the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark – are likely to send these jets to the war-torn country.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden informed his G7 counterparts of its decision to allow its Western allies to supply Ukraine with advanced combat jets at the bloc's summit in Japan on May 19.

“We’ve reached a moment where it is time to look down the road and to say what Ukraine is going to need as part of a future course to be able to deter and defend against Russian aggression going forward,” Sullivan said. “F-16s and fourth generation fighter aircraft are part of the fix.”

Countries can only resell or re-export American military hardware if the US approves it, so this decision clears the way for other nations to send their existing stocks of F-16s to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy had been pressing his allies for months to provide modern fighters to bolster Ukraine’s depleted air force, which relies on ageing Soviet-built fighters that are inferior to Russia’s jets. After the White House’s announcement, Zelenskyy hailed the “historic decision” and said this “will greatly enhance our army in the sky,” he said on Twitter.

On May 16, British government said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte have agreed to build an “international coalition” to help procure F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine. Britain does not fly F-16s, but the Netherlands does. Belgium and Denmark could also offer their F-16s to Ukraine.

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