US approves F16s to Ukraine from EU countries 

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A US official said on August 17 that the United States has approved sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands as soon as pilot training is completed. 

As the proxy war between Russia and Ukraine continues, Kiev has actively sought the US-made F-16 fighter jets to help it counter Russia’s aerial dominance, according to Saudi news website Asharq Al-Awsat, August 18. 

F-16 fighter jets are made by American aerospace, arms and technology corporation Lockheed Martin.

Washington gave EU member states, Denmark and the Netherlands official assurances that the United States will approve transfer requests for F-16s to go to Ukraine when the pilots are trained, the American official said.

Holland’s Foreign Minister, Wokpe Hoekstra said on the Elon Musk-owned social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, “We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.” He added,”Now, we will further discuss the subject with our European partners.” 

Since the Russian invasion, President Biden’s administration as well as the US congress have given $75 billion worth of aid to Ukraine, including humanitarian, military and financial support from the period of early 2022 to July of this year.  

Talks have recently been made regarding the United States selling F-35 fighter jets to Morocco. The North African kingdom has used their normalisation of ties with Israel as an opportunity to acquire American fighter jets which could eventually enflame tensions with neighbouring country, Algeria. 

READ: Elisabeth R. Myers: Why Morocco does not need F-35 fighter jets

Denmark also said providing Ukraine with the jets would now be a discussion matter. “The government has said several times that a donation is a natural next step after training. We are discussing it with close allies, and I expect we will soon be able to be more concrete about that,” Denmark’s defence minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Danish news agency Ritzau on August 18.

A coalition of 11 countries was due to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 fighter jets this month in Denmark. Denmark’s acting Defense Minister Troels Poulsen said in July that the country hoped to see positive results from the training in early 2024.
Denmark and the Netherlands (both NATO members) have been leading international efforts to train pilots as well as maintaining aircrafts and effectively enabling Ukraine to obtain F-16s for use in its conflict with the Russians.

This news comes after Mark Rutte, The Netherlands’s Prime Minister stressed in May of this year that the country was seriously considering providing Ukraine with fighter jets, as it is currently phasing out the fighter jets from its own armed forces.

According to figures from the Dutch defense ministry, Holland currently has 24 operational F-16’s which will be phased out by mid-2024.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent letters to his Danish and Dutch counterparts reassuring them that the requests would be approved.

Mr. Blinken wrote in a letter to the two officials, “I am writing to express the United States’ full support for both the transfer of F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine and for the training of Ukrainian pilots by qualified F-16 instructors.”
The letter added, “It remains critical that Ukraine is able to defend itself against ongoing Russian aggression and violation of its sovereignty.”

ASHARQ AL-AWSAT


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