Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday that the first F-16s would be in Romania within two weeks. There, Ukrainian pilots are trained to fly aircraft.
Rutte made the pledge on Monday in a video call with Zelensky. “The Netherlands continues to support Ukraine against continued Russian aggression, to the extent and for as long as necessary,” Rutte wrote. X. He added, “The terrible situation in Israel and Gaza does not distract us from that.”
The Netherlands and Denmark previously promised to deliver the plane. This requires permission from the Americans, because the devices are manufactured there. Rutte did not give the exact number of F-16s, but Zelensky said earlier this year that there had been an agreement for 42 Dutch aircraft.
Ukrainian pilots are trained in Romania. Before Ukrainians are allowed into the air, they must first master the plane’s English “instruction manual.”
It would then take about a year before pilots mastered all of the F-16’s functions. Maintenance support staff also need long-term training.
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