Two NATO countries, The Netherlands and Denmark, will deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, with the first supplies reaching there by New Year. The two nations made the announcement while Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy was on visits to the countries.
The commitment is the first instance of a real cooperation on arms supplies which comes only a few days after the United States consented to the committed delivery of the fighter jets by the Netherlands and Denmark.
Zelenskyy referred to the choice as a “breakthrough agreement” and claimed the jets would support Ukraine’s counteroffensive against a Russian invasion of 2022 by bolstering its air defenses.
According to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Denmark would provide 19 jets in total, with the first six scheduled to arrive in Ukraine around the start of the new year, followed by eight in 2024 and five the following year.
“We know that your freedom is our freedom. We also know that you need more” weaponry, Frederiksen remarked alongside Zelenskyy at a press conference held at the Danish airfield of Skrydstrup. She further said, “This is why we are announcing that we are donating 19 F-16 fighter jets.”
In total, the Netherlands has 42 F-16s available, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who earlier on Sunday welcomed Zelenskyy to the nation. However, it is not yet known if all of them would be supplied.
A campaign to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s and eventually supply the planes has been spearheaded by the Netherlands and Denmark for months in order to help offset the air superiority of Russia. Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s minister of defence, stated on Saturday that pilot training had started but that it would take at least six months, if not longer, to train engineers and mechanics as well.
Over 70 military representatives from Ukraine have arrived in Denmark for training, according to Frederiksen. A group of 11 nations’ officials said training will be conducted in Romania and Denmark.
According to Ukraine, numerous pilots will be trained. The number of pilots who had arrived in Denmark was unknown.
Due to the transition of their armed forces to the more modern F-35 aircraft, both the Netherlands and Denmark have F-16s ready for donation.