Tuesday, July 23, 2024

F-16 fighter jets from Denmark and Netherlands ‘in Ukraine’s skies this summer’

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F-16 fighter jets will be flying in Ukrainian skies this summer, the US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said.

Speaking at an event on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, Mr Blinken said the jets are en route to Ukraine from Denmark and the Netherlands.

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He added that a robust package for Ukraine will be unveiled over the next couple of days that will build a clear bridge for Ukraine’s NATO membership.

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NATO to send Ukraine ‘historic’ aid package

“Those jets… will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression,” Mr Blinken said.

Norway is also set to donate six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to defend itself from Russian attacks, the country’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said.

No date was announced for when Norway will donate the six jets, but Mr Gahr Store said: “We aim to start the donations during 2024.”

Ukraine has long pleaded for the sophisticated fighter planes to give it a combat edge against Russian firepower.

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted on social media he was “grateful to the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands for taking practical steps to achieve the goal of all Ukrainians: To strengthen the Ukrainian airforce with F-16s.”

“F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer,” he said.

He also thanked Belgium and Norway for their commitment to send the jets.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivers remarks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute on the sidelines of NATO's 75th anniversary summit in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2024. REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt
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Volodymyr Zelenskyy at an event on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington. Pic: Reuters

Meanwhile, NATO members have announced the delivery of five additional Patriot and other strategic air defence systems to help Ukraine.

More aid announcements are expected at this week’s summit in Washington, which marks the alliance’s 75th anniversary.

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A joint statement from the leaders of the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands said the Danish and Dutch governments were in the process of donating American-made F-16s to Ukraine, with the support of the United States.

“We are grateful to Belgium and Norway for committing to provide further aircraft, and to the other members of the Air Force Capability Coalition for their support,” the statement said, adding that the group was committed to further enhancing Ukraine’s air capabilities.

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