The Hague and Copenhagen, through their respective defense ministers, attested to Washington's approval on Aug. 18. Both the Netherlands and Denmark lead an 11-nation coalition to help Ukraine procure the aircraft. While no definite date was given, the planes will be turned over to Kyiv as soon as pilot training is complete – a detail confirmed by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
"Great news from our friends in the United States," he tweeted. "There is a green light for the Netherlands and Denmark to deliver F-16s to Ukraine after our pilots complete their training."
"Ukraine has proven that the impossible is indeed possible. Our military has proven it is filled with fast learners," Reznikov continued, thanking the three nations that made it possible for Kyiv to obtain fighter planes.
Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said she welcomed America's decision "to clear the way for delivery of F-16 jets to Ukraine." This move, she added, would allow the coalition "to follow through on the training of Ukrainian pilots." However, Ollongoren did not disclose the number of Ukraine-bound planes.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra dubbed the move "a major milestone for Ukraine to defend its people and its country." He thanked U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken "for the good and swift cooperation."
In May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands was seriously considering providing Ukraine with F-16s. The Royal Netherlands Air Force is currently phasing out the jets for more modern aircraft.
The 11-nation coalition agreed during a summit by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in July to train Ukrainians to fly F-16s and other fighter planes. Given the approval, it plans to start training pilots in August. The training will be conducted in Denmark until a center is set up in Romania. (Related: US to train Ukrainians to fly nuclear-capable F-16s despite warnings that Russia will see this as a NUCLEAR THREAT.)
Copenhagen also noted that with the approval from Washington, the discussion now shifts to providing Kyiv with fighter jets.
"The government has said several times that a donation is a natural next step after training," said Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. He told the Ritzau news agency on Aug. 18: "We are discussing it with close allies, and I expect we will soon be able to be more concrete about that."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the progress on the F-16 deal during his visit to the Netherlands and Denmark over the weekend. He and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen were pictured while in the cockpit of one plane during his Aug. 20 visit to the Nordic country. Zelensky said the jets would "produce fresh results for Ukraine" and grant Kyiv an advantage over Russia.
But on Aug. 21, Ellemann-Jensen announced a caveat for the F-16 jets Copenhagen will turn over to Kyiv. He stressed that once transferred to Ukraine, the aircraft must not stray from the country's own internationally recognized borders. The fighter planes must also only be used to retake land occupied by Russian forces.
"We donate weapons under the condition that they are used to drive the enemy out of the territory of Ukraine, and no further than that," the Danish defense minister said. "Those are the conditions – whether it's tanks, fighter planes or something else."
Ukraine has clearly expressed its intention to restore its borders circa 1991, when the Soviet Union was dissolved. This would also involve taking back territories under Russian control since 2014 including Crimea and the Donbas regions. Kyiv's counteroffensive against Moscow has been slow despite huge promises, with Ukrainian leaders blaming the West's hesitation in giving them fighter jets.
Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, remarked back in July: "Every day, every meter is given by blood. [The F-16s] are needed because there is no other way. A lot of people die every day – a lot – just because no decision has been made yet."
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Watch this video that explains why the F-16 jets for Ukraine can lead to a global nuclear war.
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