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Netherlands plans to send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in 2024

Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said on Tuesday that the Netherlands planned to deliver the first F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in 2024, according to Politico.

Ollengren said in an interview with MSNBC that pilots, crew and technicians needed to be trained before the fighter jets could be delivered. She estimated that the training process would take six to eight months. Ollengren claimed:

These things do take time. I think the most important thing is the signal we’re sending, not only to Kyiv but also to Moscow and the Kremlin. That is: We are there.

Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands have announced that they will provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets after the USA authorised the training of Ukrainian pilots. The move was welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has been pushing for months for the West to provide its forces with modern fighter jets.

On Tuesday, Ollongren made a statement about the Netherlands switching to the F-35, so they can finally give Ukraine F-16s. While the F-16s themselves won’t “make Ukraine win the war,” they will help its air defences. She said:

It’s an excellent weapons system. That’s why it is so important that they do get it.

Ollengren also said a training center for pilots should be opened in Romania “as soon as possible.”

The USA has said that the training of Ukrainian pilots will start in October after the pilots are trained in English. Denmark has already started training eight Ukrainian pilots to fly the aircraft in August.

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