The U.S. has given approval for the Netherlands to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, the Dutch defense minister said Friday, although no timeline was given for delivery or training of the required combat pilots.
The warplanes are a major gain for Kyiv even though they won’t have an immediate impact on the almost 18-month war.
“I welcome the US decision to clear the way for delivery of F-16 jets to Ukraine. It allows us to follow through on the training of Ukrainian pilots,” Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in a message on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We remain in close contact with European partners to decide on the next steps.”
The announcement comes just 24-hours after Ukraine lamented there would be no no foreign donations of fighter jets during the count offensive, or even this year at all, as Breitbart News reported.
No F-16s This Year, Acknowledges Ukraine While Holding Out Hope For ‘Good News Soon’ https://t.co/B41fcGpjfZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 17, 2023
Apart from delivering the warplanes, Ukraine’s allies also need to train its pilots. Washington says the F-16s, like the advanced U.S. Abrams tanks, will be crucial in the long term as Kyiv faces down Russia’s invasion forces.
The Netherlands is part of a Western coalition that also includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom that in July pledged to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s.
‘Jet Coalition’: Ukraine and Britain Announce Joint Effort to Get Ukraine Western Fightershttps://t.co/TPYC5IhJnQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 15, 2023
Washington must give its approval as the planes are made in the United States, as Breitbart News reported.
Senior Ukrainian officials close to the country’s President Zelensky previously expressed delight at the prospect of receiving the jets .
“We need F-16s, and I am grateful to our allies for their decision to work in this direction, including training our pilots,” Andriy Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, said back in May.