Ukraine war: US allows transfer of Danish & Dutch F-16 war planes
Ukraine will receive F-16 fighter jets made in the US from Denmark and the Netherlands once Ukrainian pilots are fully trained to operate them.
As a result, Ukraine can fully utilize its new capabilities, according to a spokesman for the US state department.
The Ukrainian government praised the decision it had been pushing for since last year.
In order to counter Russia’s air superiority, Kiev needs to wait months before it can use F-16s.
Dutch F-16s are scheduled to be taken out of service and replaced by more advanced warplanes in the near future.
Also, Denmark plans to upgrade its F-16 fleet of 30 aircraft.
Earlier, the US and its allies had ruled out providing F-16s to Ukraine for fear of further escalation with a nuclear-armed Russia.
Despite launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia has not yet publicly commented.
US state department spokesman says Denmark and the Netherlands have been given formal assurances regarding the transfer of their multi-role F-16 warplanes.
It will happen as soon as the first set of pilots complete their training, the spokesman said.
Wopke Hoekstra, Dutch Foreign Minister, said that the US decision marked a “major milestone in Ukraine’s defense of its people and country.”
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, he wrote, “We will now further discuss this subject with our European partners.”.
He was echoed by Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen.
In comments to Danish news agency Ritzau, he said: “The government has said several times that a donation is a natural next step after training. We are discussing it with our closest allies.”
Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defence minister, described the US decision as a “great development.”
He wrote on X, “We have shown that our military is quick to learn. We will soon prove that Ukraine’s victory is inevitable. Thanks to all our partners and friends in the United States, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Onward to Victory!”.
Ukrainian pilots will be trained by an 11-member coalition of Ukraine’s Western allies later this month.
A Ukrainian Air Force spokesman admitted earlier this week that Kyiv will not be able to operate F-16s this winter and autumn.
As one of the world’s most reliable fighter jets, the F-16 Fighting Falcon is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.
According to the US Air Force, it is possible to mount precision-guided missiles and bombs on it, as well as fly it at 1,500mph (2,400km/h).