Eight Ukrainian pilots have started their training in Denmark on F-16 fighter jets as the country along with the Netherlands are set to send the warplanes to Ukraine.
Denmark has confirmed they will supply Ukraine with 19 F-16 fighter jets and will deliver the first six jets around New Year.
The Danish Defense Ministry currently has 43 F-16s and for reasons of national security they will not disclose how many of the fighter jets remain in active service.
The Danish armed forces said in a message, “The eight pilots have arrived at the Danish military air base in Skrydstrup along with 65 personnel who will be trained in maintaining and servicing the jets.”
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The Netherlands have 42 F-16s, but as yet they have not made public how many fighter jets they will supply to Ukraine.
On Monday the Netherlands and Denmark both officially agreed to donate the 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.
“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 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.”