Denmark permits Ukraine to use F-16 jets against Russian military targets


Ukraine can use Danish F-16 fighter jets to strike military targets in Russia, Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said, the Danish media AmagerLIV reported on May 30.

Ukraine cannot use these aircraft for "arbitrary attacks" on Russia, Rasmussen said.

Ukraine's Armed Forces can target Russian weapons depots.

Read also: Belgium's PM limits use of promised F-16s to Ukrainian territory

"Even if they are inside Russia, they are legitimate military targets because Russia attacked Ukraine," he said.

"It fully complies with the rules of war, which allow a country under attack to defend itself," he noted.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen also said that Ukraine could use the weapons provided by Denmark to strike Russia.

"Ukraine can use what we have donated, including outside its borders, meaning against targets in Russia, as long as it complies with international law," she said.

When asked if Ukrainian forces could use Danish weapons to strike Russian military objects and supply lines, Frederiksen confirmed, "Yes, they can."

"This is part of the ability to defend oneself, as everyone can see that Russian behavior is extremely brutal," she said.

F-16 fighters for Ukraine

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In August 2023, the Netherlands and Denmark pledged to jointly provide Ukraine with 61 American F-16 fighter jets, following a transfer authorization from the United States.

Norway also confirmed its intention to supply F-16s, while Belgium plans to provide Ukraine with F-16s in 2025.

The Netherlands initially announced preparations to transfer the first 18 aircraft to Ukraine in December, later increasing this number to 24. In total, the Netherlands has promised Kyiv 42 fighters.

Read also: Ukraine will receive 500,000 shells by the end of the year under Czech initiative - Denmark's PM

The tentative timeline for delivering the fighter jets to Ukraine is the first half of 2024.

The first F-16s are expected to arrive in Ukraine around June 2024, according to a February 18, 2024 report from Foreign Policy, citing European officials. However, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat noted that it was impossible to specify exact dates for the transfer of F-16s by foreign partners.

The UK government announced on March 22 that the first 10 Ukrainian pilots had completed basic flight, ground, and language training on F-16 fighters in Britain. The military will now proceed to advanced flight training provided by the French Air Force.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated on March 27 that Western F-16 fighter jets should appear in Ukraine's skies by mid-summer.

Dutch Defense Minister Kees Ollongren announced on May 6 that the Netherlands plans to start sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine in the fall. Meanwhile, Danish Ambassador to Kyiv Ole Egberg Mikkelsen said that the planes would arrive this summer.

The Standard reported on May 10, citing a high-ranking military source, that the first Western F-16 fighter jets would arrive in Ukraine within a few weeks.

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