EU nation to send first batch of F-16 jets to Kiev — RT World News

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that Amsterdam has begun preparations to deliver 18 fighter jets to Ukraine

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday, following a phone call with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, that the Netherlands is about to begin preparing the first delivery of US-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The European Union member state is one of Kiev's supporters, which has pledged to supply it with warplanes over the next few years, along with Denmark, Norway and Belgium.

Zelensky claimed in August that the Netherlands and Belgium had jointly pledged 42 aircraft to his country, although the joint statement issued by the two countries did not mention any specific numbers.

On Friday, Rutte said in a post on X (formerly Twitter): “first” The delivery will include 18 aircraft.

The Prime Minister also said earlier that his country's entire F-16 fleet consists of 42 aircraft and that Amsterdam will need to keep some of them for its own training purposes.

On Friday, Zelensky thanked the Dutch Prime Minister in a post on X for his government's decision, adding that they had also discussed “Ukraine’s current military needs, including artillery, drones and air defense.”

According to Ruti, “A number of criteria must also be met before [the] Delivery can be made, including staffing and infrastructure requirements. The Prime Minister also admitted that his country has not yet obtained an export permit from the United States.

Washington has long been reluctant to consider supplying Western-made fighter jets to Kiev. In February, US President Joe Biden said that Ukraine did not need F-16s at that moment. He added: “There is no logical basis, according to our military, now to provide F-16 aircraft.” He said.

However, by the summer, the US position appeared to have changed as Washington eventually gave permission for Ukrainian pilots to train on F-16s and indicated that it was prepared to approve a third-party transfer of the aircraft to Kiev once such training was completed.

Kiev has been pressuring its Western backers to provide it with increasingly advanced weapons since the beginning of its conflict with Moscow, as it treats these weapons as changing the rules of the game in the conflict. Zelensky particularly praised the F-16 pledge announced in August “Historical, powerful, motivational.”

Moscow rejected such ideas, saying Western arms supplies only prolong the conflict and expand human suffering without significantly affecting the situation on the front lines. In November, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the entire fleet of F-16s pledged to Kiev by Western donors could be destroyed in less than three weeks. The mission to shoot down all those planes would be like… “About 20 days of work.” He said.

Western officials have begun to doubt Ukraine's chances in the ongoing conflict following its failed counteroffensive in the summer that led to few changes along the front lines despite heavy Kiev losses.

In December, US lawmakers said Washington and Kiev had not presented a clear winning strategy after their meeting with Zelensky. Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville said he did “I did not think” Kyiv can do it “Wins.”

Earlier the same month, Politico reported that the UK was considering pushing Ukraine toward peace talks with Russia over concerns about Kiev's ability to achieve a battlefield victory.

You can share this story on social media:

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button