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The Netherlands to prepare first 18 F-16s for transfer to Ukraine

The Netherlands to prepare first 18 F-16s for transfer to Ukraine Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The Dutch government has decided to prepare the first 18 F-16 fighter jets for transfer to Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte writes on X.

According to Rutte, he held talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the morning. Among the main issues was the decision of the European Council to start negotiations on Ukraine's integration into the European Union.

"I’m impressed with Ukraine’s progress so far, and the Netherlands stands ready to help Ukraine as it continues to work on the reforms that the accession process requires," the Prime Minister says, adding that Amsterdam would make every effort to reach an agreement on the EU's financial support for Ukraine during the February 2024 meeting.

Among other things, Rutte informs the President of the Dutch government's decision to prepare the first F-16 fighter jets for delivery to Ukraine.

"Besides an export permit, a number of other criteria must also still be met before delivery can take place, including requirements for personnel and infrastructure. This decision confirms the Netherlands’ undiminished commitment to providing Ukraine with the support it needs to respond to the ongoing Russian aggression," Rutte adds.

What Volodymyr Zelenskyy says

During the talks, Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanks the Dutch government for its decision on the F-16, as well as for its active support for the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU. In particular, he emphasizes the importance of providing our country with long-term EU assistance of 50 billion euros as soon as possible.

"This decision will not only contribute to bolstering our defense and macroeconomic resilience, but also demonstrate the unwavering support of the European Union and may become a driver for similar decisions by other partners of ours," Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.

Other things discussed

  • developments at the front, the situation in the Black Sea, and Ukraine's current military needs, including artillery, drones, and air defense;
  • agreed to continue working together on security guarantees by the G7 Vilnius Declaration;

"The interlocutors also discussed the next meeting at the level of advisors to the heads of state on the implementation of the Peace Formula and efforts to further consolidate international support for the Ukrainian vision of a just peace," the press service of the President's Office writes.

F-16 for Ukraine

Earlier, Ukraine's allies announced the creation of an aviation coalition to provide modern fighters, including F-16s, to the country. The coalition was led by the Netherlands and Denmark.

In the fall, Politico reported that Ukrainian pilots began flight training on F-16s in the United States, and on October 25, they began flying F-16s. Before that, they had been training on simulators, flight simulators that fully recreated the cockpit of an airplane.

As explained by Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat, the F-16s handed over to Ukraine will need to be slightly modernized to match the capabilities of Russian aviation.