The U.S. has accredited the switch of F-16s to Ukraine from the Netherlands and Denmark, in keeping with officers from each nations, lastly agreeing to ship a long-asked-for superior warplane to Ukrainian troops.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week signaled his approval for the switch in a letter to Dutch and Danish leaders. Though Denmark and Netherlands personal the plane, the planes are made within the U.S., and deliveries have to be accredited by Washington.
It’s a main step ahead for Ukraine, which has requested for the jets because the starting of the conflict greater than a yr in the past.
Dutch International Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra on Friday thanked Blinken “for the great and swift cooperation” on the approval of the jets.
“This marks a serious milestone for Ukraine to defend its folks and its nation,” Hoekstra wrote on X, the platform previously often called Twitter.
For now, the choice has opened the door to permitting the 2 European nations to ship the prized fighter jets to Ukraine, with extra precise particulars anticipated to return later.
Supply of the plane and arrival on the battlefield may take months. Ukrainian pilots nonetheless want to coach on the F-16s. However now, Kyiv may deploy the plane before subsequent spring or summer season, as had been feared.
Danish officers will flip over the F-16s after getting extra superior F-35 plane this fall. The primary 4 F-35s are anticipated to be delivered Oct. 1.
U.S. officers lengthy argued the F-16s weren’t wanted within the present part of the conflict in opposition to Russia, rebuffing quite a few requests from Kyiv since early 2022.
Ukraine operates ageing, Soviet-era plane, and it’s outgunned by Russia within the skies. Ukrainian officers have mentioned superior plane may assist flip the tide of a slow-going counteroffensive within the southeast.
In Might, President Biden mentioned European allies would practice Ukrainian pilots on the fighter jets, marking a reversal within the stance. A coalition of 11 allies agreed at a serious NATO summit in July to start coaching Ukrainian pilots in August, which is anticipated to start quickly.
Danish Protection Minister Kasja Ollongren mentioned Friday the U.S. approval now “permits us to observe by way of on the coaching of Ukrainian pilots.”
“We stay in shut contact with European companions to determine on the subsequent steps,” Ollongren wrote on X.
The Related Press contributed.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This materials is probably not revealed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.