© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy seems on display screen as he addresses the members of Dutch parliament through video hyperlink, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in The Hague, Netherlands, March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – The Netherlands is “critically contemplating” sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine however has not taken any remaining choice but, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned on Friday.
Earlier this week the Netherlands mentioned it needed to begin coaching Ukrainian pilots in flying F-16’s as quickly as doable.
Requested if the Netherlands would ship fighter jets to Ukraine, Rutte advised a information convention no remaining choice had been taken, however added that “should you begin coaching it is apparent that’s one thing you might be critically contemplating”.
Any choice on sending F-16s was depending on approval from the U.S. to take action, Rutte mentioned. He added that the Netherlands would probably have fighter jets to move on because it was presently phasing out its F-16’s.
In accordance with figures from the Dutch defence ministry the Netherlands presently has 24 operational F-16’s which shall be phased out by mid-2024. One other 18 of the jets are presently out there on the market, of which 12 have been provisionally offered.
Final Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden endorsed coaching programmes for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy assured Biden that the planes wouldn’t be used to cross into Russian territory.
The West says it needs to assist Ukraine defeat Russia however has repeatedly insisted it doesn’t need to set off a direct confrontation between the U.S.-backed NATO navy alliance and Russia.