Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accompanied by his spouse and a team of officials, recently arrived in the Netherlands for a visit. He held talks with Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Zelensky took to Facebook to express the main topic of discussion during the meeting. "The primary issue is acquiring F-16 fighters for Ukraine to protect our people from Russian terror. Also on the agenda are the Global Peace Summit, exploring the peace formula, and holding the terrorist state accountable," he stated.
During a joint press conference with Rutte, President Zelensky announced that Ukraine will soon have 42 F-16 fighters. "F-16. A groundbreaking agreement. Today, it becomes a reality. Thank you, Netherlands! Thank you, Mark!" Zelensky expressed his gratitude.
In response, Mark Rutte mentioned that training for Ukrainian pilots was scheduled to commence in the Netherlands in May. However, he emphasized that training cannot begin without the delivery of the aircraft. "In other words, aircraft delivery is crucial for training. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Netherlands and Denmark have committed to transferring F-16 planes to Ukraine once the necessary conditions are met," Rutte explained.
A video circulating online shows Zelensky exploring a military base in the Netherlands and inspecting the fighters.
Kyiv has consistently emphasized the need to replace its outdated Soviet-made aircraft with a unified type of multi-role fighter such as the F-16. Yuriy Ignat, a representative of the Ukrainian Air Force, clarified that Ukraine would have an advantage over the Russian army if it possessed at least two hundred aircraft. Currently, the Russian aviation group, stationed at forty airfields in Russia, Belarus, and occupied territories, outnumbers the Ukrainian aviation by five to six times in terms of combat aircraft.
"Furthermore, we are technologically behind. Therefore, there is a significant necessity to establish up to five tactical aviation brigades equipped with a single type of Western multi-role aircraft. It is understood that we cannot acquire everything at once, but a gradual transition to a new multi-role aircraft is imperative," Ignat emphasized.
Previously, it was reported that the United States has approved requests from Denmark and the Netherlands to supply F-16 fighters to Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that sending these aircraft would allow Ukraine to fully utilize its new capabilities.