Dutch foreign minister supports Ukraine's right to deploy F-16s over Russia

F-16 fighter
F-16 fighter

The Netherlands has expressed no objection to Ukraine using F-16 fighter jets over Russian territory, according to Hanke Bruins Slot, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs. Her comments were reported by Radio Svoboda on May 31.

"If you have the right to self-defense, there are no limits to the use of weapons. This is a general principle," Bruins Slot remarked on the sidelines of an informal NATO foreign ministers' meeting in Prague.

She further cited Article 51 of the UN Charter, which guarantees the right to self-defense, as justification for Ukraine's potential use of Western-supplied aircraft over Russian territory.

Read also: Danish Ambassador confident: Bright future ahead with Ukraine’s F-16 deal

The Netherlands is actively engaged in discussions with the United States to ensure all F-16s are made available to Ukraine, according to Bruins Slot.

"The Netherlands is ready to do everything possible to allow F-16s to fly in the skies of Ukraine as soon as possible," she stated, reaffirming Dutch support for Ukraine’s defense capabilities.

Read also: Denmark permits Ukraine to use F-16 jets against Russian military targets

Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen on May 30 said that Ukraine would be able to use Danish F-16 fighters to strike military targets in Russia.

F-16 fighters for Ukraine

The Netherlands and Denmark promised in August 2023 to jointly provide Ukraine with 61 American F-16 fighter jets. This was preceded by a transfer authorization from the United States.

Norway has also confirmed its intention to supply F-16s. Belgium will also provide Ukraine with F-16s, but in 2025.

The Netherlands announced its decision to begin preparations for the transfer of the first 18 aircraft to Ukraine in December, and later increased this number to 24. In total, the country has promised Kyiv 42 fighters.

The tentative timeline for the delivery of the fighter jets to Ukraine was the first half of 2024.

The first F-16s would arrive in Ukraine around June 2024, Foreign Policy reported on Feb. 18, 2024, citing European officials. Commenting on this, the then spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, noted that it was impossible to talk about specific dates for the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine by foreign partners.

The first 10 Ukrainian pilots had completed basic flight, ground, and language training on F-16 fighters in Britain, the UK government announced on March 22. The military will now move on to advanced flight training provided by the French Air Force.

The Netherlands plans to start sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in fall, Dutch Defense Minister Kees Ollongren said on May 6. At the same time, Danish Ambassador to Kyiv Ole Egberg Mikkelsen said that planes would arrive this summer.

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The first Western F-16 fighter jets would arrive in Ukraine within a few weeks, on May 10, The Standard reported, citing a high-ranking military source.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Kroo on May 28 said that the F-16s that Belgium will begin to provide to Ukraine in 2024 can only be used on Ukrainian territory.

On the same day, Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib announced that her country would send 30 F-16 fighters to Ukraine by 2028. The first planes, she said, would be sent “by the end of the year.”

Read also: Ukrainian servicemen complete F-16 maintenance training in the Netherlands

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine