Politico: Netherlands may be first to give Ukraine F-16s

23.05.2023, 10:06
Politico: Netherlands may be first to give Ukraine F-16s - Photo
An F-16 fighter jet. Photo via EPA

The Netherlands may become the first country to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, per a Politico report.

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov, told the publication "the Netherlands are in a position to be [the] first" country gifting fighter jets.

The Netherlands currently has 24 F-16s in use which are "operationally deployable" and "will remain in use until mid-2024," a spokesperson for the Dutch defence ministry said.

"After that, they are available for another destination, such as sale," they added in a statement to Politico.

The Netherlands also has an additional 18 F-16s "which are no longer used operationally" and "can also be given a different destination."

Twelve of these 18 were originally slated to be transferred to a private company, but the transfer had been delayed, the spokesperson noted.

Earlier, Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra noted that training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16s could begin "very soon".

Ukraine has long been asking for modern fighter jets, claiming that its current Soviet-era aircraft are not capable of countering offensives of Russian forces and are too old to be combat-effective.

On Sunday, US president Joe Biden officially confirmed the US would start training Ukrainian pilots for the F-16.

Ukraine earlier signalled hopes to receive forty to fifty aircraft, the first ones preferably in the autumn.

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