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13 May, 2024 22:06

Danish PM reveals timeline for first F-16 delivery to Ukraine

The US-made fighter jets will arrive in the coming weeks, Mette Frederiksen has said
Danish PM reveals timeline for first F-16 delivery to Ukraine

The first US-made F-16 fighter jets will arrive in Ukraine “in the coming month,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Monday. The batch will include five aircraft, she announced at a joint press conference with the leaders of other Nordic nations and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Stockholm. 

Copenhagen is part of a coalition that promised to procure US-designed F-16s for Ukraine and train its pilots last year. Denmark vowed to provide 19 of the more than 40 aircraft pledged by the group. Another 24 of the jets have been promised by the Netherlands.  

“The first five planes from Denmark will be in the air in the coming month from now,” Frederiksen said, answering a question about speeding up deliveries of Western arms and ammunition. The Danish prime minister also repeatedly called on Western nations to donate ammunition and air defense systems to Ukraine. 

“[Ukrainians] are fighting at the moment and it is not going into the right direction,” she said, referring to the ongoing Russian advance in Donbass and Kharkov Region. “The main reason for the losses on the Ukrainian side is the lack of air defenses,” she claimed.

Frederiksen called the Ukraine conflict the “top priority” for the EU and NATO, accusing Moscow of launching “hybrid attacks and operations on NATO soil,” which she called “extremely concerning.”

In March, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said Denmark would be the first nation to deliver F-16s to Kiev and would do so at some point this summer. The Netherlands was due to follow suit and provide Ukraine with a batch of fighter jets “in the second half of the year,” the minister said at the time. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ilya Evlash claimed that Kiev could receive the jets “after Easter,” which was May 5.

Kiev has long sought to acquire the US-made jets, saying they would greatly improve both its defensive and offensive capabilities. Some senior Ukrainian military officials believe it might be too late, however, as Russia has already developed countermeasures against them, Politico reported last month, citing high-ranking Ukrainian military sources.

Moscow has warned that Western arms supplies to Kiev only prolong the conflict but will not change the ultimate outcome.