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Mon, Aug 21, 2023

Danish and Dutch F-16s Bound for Ukraine

Washington Approval Risks Escalation

The U.S., on Friday, 18 August 2023, approved requests set forth by Denmark and the Netherlands to export American-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. 

The export of U.S. military aircraft requires State Department authorization. In May 2023, Joe Biden stated he was in favor of Ukraine’s receipt of U.S. warplanes. U.S. leaders, while refusing to directly provide Ukraine combat aircraft, wholeheartedly support the notion of third-party NATO states provisioning Ukraine with meaningful numbers of F-16s. Remarkably, the Biden administration’s reluctance to arm Kyiv with U.S. fighter jets directly derives of concerns over the possibility of further degrading already abysmal U.S.-Russian relations.

Pleased with news of Washington’s brinkmanship, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren declared on X (formerly Twitter): “We remain in close contact with European partners to decide on the next steps.”

For months, Ukrainian president Zelenskyy has pressed Western nations to provide fighter jets to Ukraine—the air force of which comprises primarily obsolete, Soviet-Era combat aircraft.

NATO states, to include the U.K. and France, have attempted to assuage Zelensky’s lust for warplanes, shipping cruise missiles, but not fighter aircraft, to Ukraine.

Notwithstanding Washington’s authorization to provide such, F-16s from Dutch and Danish military stocks will likely not benefit Ukraine’s war effort for a period of time measurable in months—as Ukrainian pilots must first be trained to proficiently operate the machines.

To date, a coalition of 11 nations, including the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Denmark, has pledged to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 and effectively employ the aircraft in combat.

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen stated no timetable yet exists for Ukraine’s fielding of F-16 fighter jets on account of the international priority, at present, is the training of Ukrainian pilots. Ground-school and flight-training exercises involving Ukrainian pilots are expected to commence at Denmark’s Skrydstrup air base in late August and continue for several months.

FMI: http://www.ukrbat.narod.ru/vvs.html

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