On Wednesday, Denmark’s Minister of Defense, Troels Lund Poulsen, revealed plans to deliver F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in the spring of 2024. According to a report by Danish broadcaster TV2, Poulsen anticipated that the first batch of six of the 19 promised F-16s would arrive in Ukraine in March or April of the following year.
This announcement coincided with the Danish Ministry of Defense’s unveiling of a new coalition, led by the United States, Denmark, and the Netherlands, to support Ukraine in establishing its future air force centered around the F-16 aircraft.
Poulsen stated, “Throughout the war, Denmark has played a pivotal role through significant military contributions to Ukraine, notably with the donation of F-16 fighter jets.” He emphasized that the responsibility of co-leading this new coalition naturally falls to Denmark.
The U.S. State Department had previously pledged that American-made fighter jets would be provided to Ukraine once Kyiv’s pilots demonstrated full training and readiness to operate these aircraft. However, the delivery of U.S.-made jets is contingent on approval from Washington, even as Denmark and the Netherlands commit to offering their F-16s.
The Netherlands possesses 42 American-made F-16s but has yet to announce the number they intend to donate to Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had previously asserted that Kyiv would receive 42 jets from Dutch and Danish sources.
Currently, Ukrainian pilots operate Soviet-era MiG-29s and Su-27s, consistently seeking F-16s. Experts have indicated that even a dozen or so of these aircraft could significantly impact the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Western-made jets F-16s offer vast advantages over their Russian counterparts, including advanced radar and guidance systems and the capacity to be armed with precision-guided missiles and bombs.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously cautioned that providing Ukraine with advanced aircraft would not alter the course of the conflict, asserting, “This simply prolongs the conflict.”
Additionally, Belgium’s Defense Minister, Ludivine Dedonder, disclosed on Wednesday that Belgium would commence sending F-16s to Ukraine in 2025, as reported by Belgian media company RTL. This announcement followed a surprise visit by Zelensky to Brussels, where he met with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to Politico.
Furthermore, the Biden Administration announced an additional $200 million in military aid for Kyiv, which includes other air defense capabilities and anti-tank weapons.