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Denmark to hand over F-16 to Ukraine by summer, PM explains delay

Denmark to hand over F-16 to Ukraine by summer, PM explains delay Photo: Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (Getty Images)

The F-16 fighters, which Denmark will hand over, will appear in Ukrainian skies by the summer of 2024. The delay is related exclusively to technical issues, says the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, during a joint press conference with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in Lviv.

"We are all very happy that Denmark is going to provide these fighters in cooperation with the Netherlands, Belgium, and the USA. This is a very powerful weapon. I hope that we will be able to see the F-16 in the airspace of Ukraine in the near future, even before the summer," Frederiksen said.

According to her, the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine is delayed solely due to technical issues that require time to be resolved.

"The only reason why we are delayed with the transfer of F-16 to Ukraine is simply technical, a technical point. Because a serious infrastructure is needed to maintain these fighters, and the training for the F-16 is much longer and longer than for any other systems weapons," the prime minister explained.

Frederiksen also reminded that the training of Ukrainian pilots started back in August, and it is going "very well and quickly."

F-16 for Ukraine

The Netherlands and Denmark headed the aviation coalition for the training of Ukrainian pilots on American F-16 fighter jets. These countries have special flight simulators.

In August 2023, Denmark began training the first group of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters. It was then about eight pilots. Last year in November, Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat said that in Denmark, Ukrainian pilots are already training in the air with instructors on F-16 fighter jets.

On February 18, Foreign Policy reported that Ukraine would be able to receive the first F-16 fighters in the summer of 2024. It is probably about June. At the same time, Ihnat, commenting on media publications, recently noted that it is not yet known when Kyiv will receive F-16 aircraft. But "the process is underway", Ukraine is switching to fighter jets as an emergency.

At the same time, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the process of transferring F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine is on schedule. Ukraine is to receive more than 20 combat aircraft.