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    The Netherlands Supplies F-16 Fighter Jets to Ukraine with Unrestricted Use Against Russia

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    The Netherlands has decided to provide 24 F-16 fighter jets to the Ukrainian air forces, enabling them to strike targets within Russia.

    According to Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot, this transfer does not necessitate permission from the United States.

    Unlike American weapons, which are restricted to the border region near Kharkiv, the Dutch-supplied F-16s can be used beyond these limits.

    Although the F-16s are manufactured in the United States, giving the US a stake in their deployment, Bruins Slot clarified that there have been no discussions about restricting their use, following consultations with NATO colleagues in Prague.

    The Netherlands has expressed its approval for Ukraine to potentially use F-16 fighter jets over Russian territory for self-defense purposes, citing the United Nations Charter’s provisions on self-defense.

    Dutch foreign minister, Bruins Slot, stated that if Ukraine has the right to self-defense, there are no borders for the use of weapons, RFE/RL reports.

    The conversation surrounding the F-16s extends to other NATO members involved in the so-called fighter aircraft coalition, including Denmark and Belgium, who are coordinating with the US on this matter.

    While Denmark Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen stating that Denmark does not oppose the use of F-16 fighter jets provided to Ukraine for strikes on military targets within Russian territory, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has stated that the F-16s being transferred by Belgium to Ukraine can only be used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces within Ukrainian territory.

    Ukrainian pilots and ground technicians are currently being trained on F-16 fighter jets. According to international media reports and statements by Ukrainian officials, the first batch of F-16s is expected to arrive in Ukraine this summer.

    Contrary to earlier reports, which suggested that the US needed to approve the transfer of the F-16s, the current narrative indicates a more autonomous approach by the Dutch authorities.

    An F-16 from the Vermont Air National Guard’s 158th Fighter Wing provides close air support to coalition forces supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Thomas Ireland)

    The outgoing minister’s clarification that the US has given Ukraine more leeway to use American-made weapons, albeit reluctantly.

    Relevant articles:
    – Ukraine receives 24 Dutch F-16 fighter jets for use against targets in Russia , NL Times, 06/01/2024
    – 16s in Russian airspace for self, Euromaidan Press, 05/31/2024
    – The Netherlands allowed the use of F-16 on the territory of the Russian Federation, Militarnyi, 05/31/2024

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