Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren confirmed the arrival of the fighter jets in a separate post on the X social network.
“I am grateful to the Netherlands and Prime Minister Mark Rutte for their pioneering support for Ukraine. Today is a milestone: five Dutch F-16s have already arrived at the training center in Romania. We are still working together to welcome the F-16 to Ukrainian skies as soon as possible,” Zelenskyy wrote on the network.
In August, the Netherlands promised to donate some of its own F-16s to help Ukraine fight a Russian invasion. Amsterdam has twenty-four operational F-16s at its disposal, which will be phased out by the middle of next year.
Since the fighters are American-made, Washington had to approve the delivery plans. Specifically, US President Joe Biden did this already in May.
Other NATO members – Denmark, Norway and Belgium – have also announced that they will provide Kyiv with part of their F-16 stockpile.
Ukrainian pilots have been training in Denmark since the end of the summer. The first group of Ukrainian pilots is scheduled to complete training on F-16 machines in the summer of 2024, if not earlier. Ukraine then confirmed that F-16s will be able to defend the country as early as next year.
What is an F-16
The American F-16 combat aircraft is the most widespread Western machine of its kind, with over 4,600 produced since the late 1970s. Although the “invisible” fighter F-35 is slowly becoming the standard of NATO countries, its manufacturer now has orders for almost 130 machines. In the roughly 50 years since its first flight, the “ef sixteen” has seen many improvements.
About 30 countries had or have it in their arsenal, in addition to NATO members such as Bahrain, Pakistan or South Korea. Among the former Warsaw Pact countries, Poland and Romania have included the F-16 in their arsenal. Slovakia should also have them.
I’m grateful to the Netherlands and @MinPres Mark Rutte for leading the way in supporting Ukraine. Today marks a milestone: five Dutch F-16s have already arrived at the training center in Romania. We keep working together to welcome F-16s into Ukrainian skies as soon as possible.
November 7, 2023 at 7:12 p.m., Post Archived: November 7, 2023 at 10:05 p.m.