The UK and the Netherlands have agreed to develop an “international coalition” to help purchase F-16s for Ukraine
Rishi Sunak and Mark Rutte have agreed to develop an “international coalition” to help purchase F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine.
The office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced this, the Guardian reports.
“Prime Minister Sunak and Dutch leader Rutte would work to build an international coalition to provide Ukraine with combat air capabilities, supporting with everything from training to procuring F-16 jets,” a Downing Street spokesperson stated after the meeting at the Council of Europe summit in Iceland.
The statement also notes that Rishi Sunak reiterated his belief that Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO.
In addition, the leaders agreed on the importance of allies providing long-term security assistance to Ukraine to guarantee they can deter future attacks.
In his evening address on May 16, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi also announced that the UK and the Netherlands, as well as France, had joined the “aviation coalition”.
“Yesterday, we agreed in Britain with Rishi, Mr. Prime Minister, that we will work on a fighter jet coalition – training, planes, results. Yesterday it was supported by French President Macron, and today by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. A good start to the coalition! Thank you all!” he said.
Participation of France and Belgium
France is open to training Ukrainian fighter pilots, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with French broadcaster TF1 on Monday.
“We have opened the door to training fighter pilots. Training can start right away,” he said.
Belgium is also ready to join the training. The office of Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of the country, announced this, DeMorgen newspaper reports.
At the same time, it was noted that Belgium itself could not hand over the planes.
“During the summit in Hague earlier this month, the F-16 issue was also discussed during a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Prime Minister. We said that we cannot supply planes, but we can train pilots,” the statement reads.
On May 15, during Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to London, Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the UK, announced that the United Kingdom would launch training for Ukrainian pilots.
“This summer, we will commence an elementary flying phase for cohorts of Ukrainian pilots to learn basic training. This will adapt the program used by UK pilots to provide Ukrainians with piloting skills they can apply a different kind of aircraft,” said Rishi Sunak.
He also emphasized that, at the same time, negotiations on the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would continue.
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