Dutch F-35, F-16 fighters to remain in Eastern Europe for longer; NATO defense ministers to meet next week
The Dutch F-16 and F-35 fighter jets currently defending the eastern flank of the NATO treaty area in eastern Europe will remain there for a while longer, Minister Kajsa Ollongren of Defense said in a letter to parliament. NATO requested that the air policing mission in the area be extended until the end of March.
The Dutch jets will also police Bulgaria's airspace in April and May, the Minister said. "The extension of the air policing task will be financed within the Defense budget," she said.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, NATO called on allied nations to help strengthen its deterrence and defense, especially along the eastern flank. For this same reason, the Netherlands, in collaboration with Germany, will soon send Patriot missile systems to Slovakia. "The government supports the united action of NATO and international partners in response to the invasion," Ollongren said. "The Netherlands stands ready to contribute."
The NATO Defense Ministers will meet in Brussels next week, on March 16, to discuss the war in Ukraine and the security situation on NATO's eastern flank.