Ukraine asks Netherlands for F-16 fighter jets; Still some obstacles, Defense Min. says
Ukraine has asked the Netherlands to supply it with F-16 fighter jets, Minister Kajsa Ollongren of Defense confirmed. She told NOS that she understands President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request for “wings of freedom,” but it is complicated to agree to.
“We need to discuss the availability of F1-6s with the Americans and other allies,” Ollongren told the broadcaster. “And we have to look seriously at the consequences. It can’t just happen overnight. We have to be honest about that.” Ukrainian soldiers will also have to get training to operate the jets. And as the plane is an American defense system, the U.S. government will have to give permission.
Despite these obstacles, Ollongren thinks Ukraine will eventually be one of the countries that can use F-16s. “The country will never be able to buy Russian fighters again, at least, which they used to.”
At the end of January, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a joint press conference with French president Emmanuel Macron that Ukraine had yet to ask for F-16s. That request has now formally been made.
After Zelenskyy appeared in the European Parliament on Thursday, Rutte told RTL Nieuws that he “wouldn’t say no” to F-16s and that there are “no taboos” for the Netherlands in helping Ukraine fight the Russian invaders.