Netherlands is seriously considering sending F-16s to Ukraine: PM

Netherlands is seriously considering sending F-16s to Ukraine: PM


THE HAGUE, May 26 (Reuters) – The Netherlands is “seriously considering” sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine but has not yet made any final decision, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.

Earlier this week, the Netherlands said it wanted to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s as soon as possible.

Asked if the country will send fighter jets to Ukraine, Rutte told a press conference that no final decision has been made, but added that “if training starts, it is obvious that it is something that is being seriously considered.”

Any decision on sending F-16s depends on US approval to do so, Rutte said, adding that the Netherlands may have fighter jets to cede as it is currently phasing out its F-16s.

According to data from the Ministry of Defense, the country currently has 24 operational F-16 fighters, which will be retired by mid-2024. Another 18 aircraft are currently available for sale, of which 12 have been provisionally sold.

Last Friday, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, supported the training programs for Ukrainian pilots in F-16s and the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, assured that the planes would not be used to cross into Russian territory.

The West says it wants to help Ukraine defeat Russia, but has repeatedly insisted it does not want to trigger a direct confrontation between the US-led NATO military alliance and Russia. (Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Bart Meijer; editing in Spanish by Carlos Serrano)

Source: Ambito

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