The Netherlands and Denmark have both officially agreed to donate F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine which will rapidly boost Kyiv’s fighting position against Russia.
The powerful US made F-16s have finally been given the green light and they will be “operational as soon as possible” over the skies in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that this is a “historic” moment, and he praised the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for making this possible with the Netherlands.
Danish Defence Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said, “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.
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“Denmark’s support for Ukraine is unwavering, and with the donation of F-16 aircraft, Denmark is now leading the way.”
Ellemann-Jensen added, “We donate weapons under the condition that they are used to drive the enemy out of the territory of Ukraine. And no further than that.
“Those are the conditions, whether it’s tanks, fighter planes or something else.”
President Zelensky said that his air force will receive 42 fighter jets, however neither Denmark nor the Netherlands gave any indication to the exact numbers of F-16s which will be supplied to Kyiv.
President Zelensky admitted, “The F-16s will not help immediately now with the war effort. It is anyway a long-term commitment from the Netherlands.
“We want them to be active and operational as soon as possible. Not for the next month, that’s impossible, but hopefully soon afterward.”
He added, ‘’F16 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 Russian ambassador to Denmark, Vladimir Barbin, warned that this is “an escalation.”
“The fact that Denmark has now decided to donate F-16 aircraft to Ukraine leads to an escalation of the conflict,” he told the Ritzau news agency.
“By hiding behind a premise that Ukraine itself must determine the conditions for peace, Denmark seeks with its actions and words to leave Ukraine with no other choice but to continue the military confrontation with Russia.”
Ukrainian pilots have started their F-16 training programmes in the UK and Sweden on Monday, commander of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Mykola Oleschuk said.
Oleschuk said, “Young pilots of the 2023 year of completion went to the UK for training [on the F16], as for Sweden, young pilots of the 2016 year of completion with sufficient combat experience went there.”
He added, “Each pilot is approached individually. They test everyone what they are capable of.”