The U.S. has given NATO member nations Denmark and the Netherlands the go-ahead to send F-16s to Ukraine to aid in its war against Russia.
Washington officials said the two nations can send the fighter jets as soon as Ukrainian pilot training is complete.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking for F-16s for months. After first hesitating, President Biden told Group of Seven (G-7) leaders at their summit in May that the U.S. will support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots on the jets.
The Netherlands and Denmark, along with Belgium and Norway, have at least 125 combat-ready F-16s in their arsenals, according to the UK-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. Ukrainian officials have said that all four nations have indicated they’re amenable to sending used jets to Ukraine.
“We welcome Washington’s decision to pave the way for sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote on social media. “Many thanks to [U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the good and swift cooperation. Now, we will further discuss the subject with our European partners.”
Meanwhile, Denmark’s Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen told Danish media, “The government has said several times that a donation [of F-16s] 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.”
The Danish Defense Ministry also said that a coalition of 11 countries would begin Ukrainian pilot training on the F-16s later this month in Denmark.