F-16 fighter jets to be next step in supplying weapons to Ukraine, says Dutch PM Rutte

20 February, 11:45 AM
F-16 aircraft (Photo:REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

F-16 aircraft (Photo:REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker)

The supply of F-16 fighter jets will be the next step in the transfer of weapons for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an interview with Ukrainian television channel ICTV on Feb. 19.

“The F-16s are really going to be the next step,” he said.

“This will be the next big step. But we’re looking to the future and making sure [Ukraine] gets what [they] need while [they] need it. That’s why we also said that there is no taboo on this issue. But the F-16s are produced in the United States, and they (U.S. officials) are against supplying them to Ukraine. Many countries are hesitant due to this.”

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Rutte noted that an aircraft coalition like the one on the supply of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine should be created to break the deadlock.

However, he believes this will take several weeks.

“There is still no conclusion whether it will take place or not, but we’re looking forward and tend to think so,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the United Kingdom on Feb. 8 and called for the transfer of fighter jets to Ukraine. The media reported that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had instructed the country’s defense minister, Ben Wallace, to look into what aircraft London could send to Kyiv.

Kyiv also made an official request for fighters from the Netherlands.

After his address to the European Parliament, Zelenskyy said that there were “certain positive decisions regarding the fighter jets that remained behind the scenes.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry is working to acquire the first squadron of foreign combat aircraft. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that some of Ukraine’s European partners have already “taken up the issue of fighter jets.”

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