The Netherlands and Denmark have announced they will donate up to 61 F-16 fighter jets between them to Ukraine once pilot training has been satisfactorily completed.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Sunday that the Netherlands has 42 F-16s available in all, but it is too early to say whether all of them will be donated.
“Today we can announce that the Netherlands and Denmark commit to the transfer of F-16 Aircraft to Ukraine and the Ukrainian Air Force, including cooperation with the United States and other partners once the conditions for such a transfer have been met,” he said in a joint press conference with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a military air base in Eindhoven.
Denmark will donate 19 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Sunday, hours after a similar offer from the Netherlands.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, along with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, visited the Skrydstrup air base, where it confirmed that Denmark had agreed to provide F-16s.
“It makes me proud that Denmark, together with the Netherlands, will donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine’s fight for freedom against Russia and its senseless aggression. Denmark’s support for Ukraine is unwavering, and with the donation of F-16 aircraft, Denmark is now leading the way,” Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said in a statement.
The offer came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited both countries.
After months of entreaties from Zelenskyy for F-16s to bolster the Ukrainian air force, the U.S. recently gave approval for the Netherlands and Denmark to provide Ukraine the American-made jets. Zelenskyy travelled to both countries Sunday to finalise the delivery deals.
”F-16s will certainly give new energy, confidence, and motivation to fighters and civilians. I’m sure it will deliver new results for Ukraine and the entire Europe,” the Ukrainian leader said.
Ukraine hopes the jets will give it a combat edge, after launching a counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s forces without air cover from Western aircraft, placing its troops at the mercy of Russian aviation and artillery.