Netherlands, Denmark to Supply US-Made F-16s to Ukraine


During his visit, the two countries pledged to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Zelenskyy welcomed the “historic” announcement making Denmark and the Netherlands the first countries to donate F-16 jets to Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia.

“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,” Zelenskyy said after his visit to a Dutch air base with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

After his visit to the Netherlands Zelenskyy flew to Denmark, where he and his wife were received by the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, other Danish Cabinet ministers and Crown Princess Mary at the Skrydstrup air base in southern Denmark where Ukrainian pilots will receive F-16 training in the coming months.

“We have agreed on the transfer of 19 F-16 jets by Denmark. This is a very powerful support for us. Training missions are already starting. Today, we have talked to our men and women who are studying and will work with F-16s here and then in our skies,” Zelenskyy said at a news conference following talks with Frederiksen.

The Danish prime minister pledged 19 F-16s to Ukraine and said she hoped the first six could be delivered around the start of the new year.

Rutte didn’t provide a number or a timeframe when the Dutch might delivery theirs, saying it depends on how soon Ukrainian crews and infrastructure are ready.

“The F-16s will not help immediately now with the war effort. It is anyway a long-term commitment from the Netherlands,” Rutte said. “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 said.

Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel that Ukraine would get 42 jets.

He said that the F-16s will be an important motivation for his country’s forces that are embroiled in a difficult counteroffensive against Russia.

Zelenskyy added that the U.S. fighter jets are necessary to counter the air superiority of the Russians.

The Dutch and Danish governments are also involved in a coalition that is working to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the advanced fighter jets.

Zelenskyy declined to say how many Ukrainian pilots would undergo training in Denmark and later in Romania, citing security reasons.

Denmark, however, said Friday that the training is starting this month.

Officials previously said that Ukrainian pilots will need six to eight months of training on the high-tech jets.

The training includes technical language training in English because most technical manuals are written in English.

The fighter jets are not likely to affect the trajectory of the war anytime soon, according to U.S. officials.

U.S. Air Force General James Hecker told reporters Friday at a virtual meeting of the Defense Writers Group that there are no prospects currently for either Ukraine or Russia to gain the upper hand in the air.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to get air superiority as long as the number of surface-to-air missiles stays high enough,” Hecker said, responding to a question from VOA.

“Both Ukraine and Russia have very good integrated air and missile defense systems,” he said. “That alone is what has prevented [Russia or Ukraine] from getting air superiority.”

In a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said, “We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.”

The British defense ministry said Sunday in its daily report about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — that Ukraine is striking deep inside Russia and the leadership of Russia’s Aerospace Forces is “highly likely” being pressured to improve its defenses over western Russia.

The ministry said Russian President Vladimir Putin “almost certainly” invaded Ukraine believing that it “would have little direct effect on Russians.” Uncrewed aerial vehicles are regularly hitting Moscow, the ministry’s report said.

There have been “increasing reports” of SA-5 GAMMON missiles hitting Russia. The ministry said the 7.5-ton Soviet-era GAMMON had been retired from Ukraine’s defense inventory but has been apparently resurrected “as a ground attack ballistic missile.”

Russia’s defense ministry said Sunday it jammed a Ukrainian drone headed toward Moscow, causing it to crash. Afterward, flights at Moscow’s Vnukovo and Domodedovo airports were suspended as a precaution.

Officials say a fire broke out when a Ukrainian drone hit a train station in the Russian city of Kursk. Five people were injured in the incident. Kursk borders Ukraine.

In his daily address, Zelenskyy vowed retaliation for a deadly Russian missile attack Saturday on the historic city of Chernihiv, about 145 kilometers (90 miles) north of Kyiv. The attack Saturday killed seven people, including a 6-year-old, and injured 144 others.

I am sure,” the president said, “our soldiers will respond to Russia for this terrorist attack. Respond tangibly.”

The missile struck while people were heading to church to celebrate a religious holiday. Fifteen of the wounded were children and 10 were police officers, according to the interior ministry.

Zelenskyy posted a video on the Telegram messaging app showing images from the aftermath of the attack, including a body in a car surrounded by debris.

“A Russian missile hit right in the center of the city, in our Chernihiv. A square, the polytechnic university, a theater,” Zelenskyy wrote while visiting Sweden to discuss a new military aid package of more than $313 million from the Nordic country.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

Source: VOA


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