Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has met with Dutch and Danish leadership to negotiate for the donation of a possible 61 F-16 fighter jets.
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President Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, with both announcing an agreed transfer of 19 F-16 aircraft by Denmark. The Netherlands government has not confirmed a donation number; however, it has 42 of the jets currently being replaced.
“We have agreed on the transfer of 19 F-16 jets by Denmark. This is a very powerful support for us,” President Zelenskyy said.
“Training missions are already starting. We have talked to our men and women who are studying and will work with F-16s here and then in our skies.
“And a very important signal was made today that everyone will do everything to ensure that we get the first jets as soon as possible.”
Any F-16s donated to Ukraine would have to be piloted by Ukrainian personnel trained in their use. Both the completed training and scheduled aircraft delivery are not expected to line up before 2024.
“We will work together with other partners to make this success for the Ukrainian sky shield even greater,” President Zelenskyy said.
“I think that the most important thing that happened here today is that it will be a great impetus for those states that previously doubted whether to provide us with aircraft.”
During the meeting, President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Frederiksen also discussed the capabilities of the Ukrainian defence forces on the battlefield, such as air defence, artillery, munitions, coastal defence, Leopards, armoured personnel carriers and demining vehicles.
President Zelenskyy has recently detailed discussions with Sweden for the acquisition of armoured vehicles and Gripen fighter aircraft.
“We are working all day in Sweden … armoured vehicles [are] just what is needed at the front. Not only supply from partners, although we are accelerating it, but also production in Ukraine,” he said.
“There is an agreement with Sweden on the production of СV90 [Swedish tracked armoured combat vehicle] in our country. Everything powerful that serves us now, we must localise and produce.
“The second is Archer systems for our gunners. Our boys are already studying in Sweden. The powerful system, the necessary system. We are working to have more of them in Ukraine.
“The third is modern aviation. We are trying very, very hard to increase the capabilities of military aviation. We have a breakthrough result regarding Gripen fighters. Our soldiers are already starting to test them, and we are step by step, negotiation by negotiation, we are getting closer to the fact that Gripen fighters will appear in our sky.
“In particular, I talked about this with the Prime Minister of Sweden, with representatives of the Swedish parliamentary parties. We are working on the beginning of the stage with the training of our boys on Gripen fighters.”