Ukraine may get a “massive addition” to its military that could level Russia’s advance

A Dutch government official said on Thursday that his country would consider supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine if Kiev made such a request.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra made the statement about the jets during a parliamentary debate, according to the Dutch website NL Times. Hoekstra reportedly said the Dutch cabinet would consider a request for F-16s with an “open mind”, adding that there would be “no taboos” for the supply of regular equipment to the Eastern European country.

John Spencer, a retired U.S. Army major and chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Madison Policy Forum, said News Week on Friday that the addition of F-16s to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s armed forces would have a noticeable impact at a time when Russian forces have recently made gains on the battlefield.

“It would give Ukraine what it doesn’t have now, which is a much greater air force capability,” Spencer said. “It would be a huge addition to Ukraine.”

Volodymyr Zelensky next to picture of jet
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is seen at a press conference on Jan. 11 in Lviv, Ukraine. Inset, a Dutch F-16 fighter jet returning to a military airbase on June 30, 2016. On Thursday, a Dutch official said the country would consider giving Ukraine F-16s if Kiev requested it.
Photos by Stanislav Ivanovs/Global Images Ukraine/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP/Getty Images

Hoekstra’s comments about F-16s came on the same day Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Netherlands would be willing to cover the cost of Leopard tanks sent to Ukraine as part of a coalition of allies.

“That’s definitely something we’d like to do,” Ollongren told Bloomberg News of such a plan regarding the Leopards. “We are all waiting to hear what the German position is on this, but I am in favor of trying to find a solution and sending tanks to Ukraine.”

Her comments about Germany related to a Friday meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. The US-led meeting of Ukraine’s allies focused on military support for Zelensky, and the topic of German-made Leopard 2 tanks was one of the main talking points.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told reporters on Friday that the meeting ended with Germany still not deciding whether or not to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.

According to Spencer, however, if a deal with the Netherlands for F-16s is achieved, Ukraine will at least have a formidable weapon in the air.

“F-16s have a multi-role platform. It can perform close air support and air supremacy,” Spencer said.

He also added that a government official with the idea of ​​such an offer does not mean a plan has been put in place, pointing out that last year the US rejected a plan by Poland to transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to a US base in Germany. bring, rejected.

However, if the F-16 deal materializes, Spencer said the fighter jets “would be a great addition to their capabilities, especially in preparation for the spring strike.”

News Week contacted the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

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