Ukraine war: The United States approves the passage of Danish and Dutch F-16 fighter fighters to Kiev.
The United States has authorized the transfer of American-made F-16 fighter jets from Denmark and the Netherlands to Ukraine once Ukrainian pilots are adequately trained to handle them.
“This way, Ukraine can take full advantage of its new capabilities,” a US State Department spokesman said.
Ukraine applauded the decision, which it had been asking for since last year.
However, it will be months before Ukraine can utilize F-16s to fight Russia’s air dominance.
The Dutch are reported to have roughly 24 operational F-16s that will be phased out and replaced by more sophisticated warplanes.
Denmark is likewise intending to update its F-16 fleet of 30 aircraft.
The US and its allies have previously ruled out deploying F-16s to Ukraine, fearing further escalation with a nuclear-armed Russia.
Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has made no public remark on the matter thus far.
Ukraine advances around two settlements, according to maps.
Ukraine’s Western armour is battling Russian defenses.
According to a US State Department spokeswoman, Denmark and the Netherlands have received “formal assurances” for the transfer of their multi-role F-16 warplanes.
This would happen “as soon as the first set of pilots complete their training,” according to the official.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra praised the US move, saying it “marks a significant milestone for Ukraine in defending its people and its country.”
“Now we will discuss the subject further with our European partners,” he stated in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen agreed.
“The government has stated on multiple occasions that a donation is a natural next step after training.” “We’re talking about it with our closest allies,” he told Denmark’s Ritzau news agency.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, called the US decision “great news.”
“Our military has demonstrated that it is full of quick learners.” We will soon demonstrate that Ukraine’s victory is unavoidable. Thank you to all of our friends and partners in the United States, the Netherlands, and Denmark. “Onward to Victory!” he scribbled on X.
An 11-member coalition of Ukraine’s Western allies is set to begin training Ukrainian pilots later this month, with the pilots expected to be ready next year.
Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman, Yuriy Ihnat, stated earlier this week that Kyiv would be unable to operate F-16s during autumn and winter.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is largely regarded as one of the most dependable fighter jets in the world.
According to the US Air Force, it can be armed with precision-guided missiles and bombs and can fly at 1,500mph (2,400km/h).
The F-16’s targeting capabilities would allow Ukraine to attack Russian forces more accurately in all weather conditions and at night.
Ukraine is thought to have dozens of combat aircraft, principally MiGs, dating from the Soviet era, and the country is currently outgunned in the air by Russia.
Kyiv requires modern warplanes to help protect its skies from regular lethal Russian missile and drone assaults, as well as to bolster its counter-offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, which has delivered modest successes thus far.