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Belgian PM says first F-16s to be delivered to Ukraine by summer

The first F-16 multi-role fighter jets with trained pilots is to be delivered to Ukraine by early summer. This was announced at a briefing in Brussels by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.
Belgian PM Alexander de Croo
Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo. Photo via Eastnews.ua.
Belgian PM says first F-16s to be delivered to Ukraine by summer

According to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, Belgium should be able to deliver the promised F-16s ”before the summer.” He emphasized that this would include the Ukrainian pilots, having been trained to such an degree that they are ready to operate the Belgian aircraft.

”The F-16 coalition is very important, as the aircraft have anti-aircraft capabilities. It should be doable to deliver the first batch of aircraft – including the pilots trained and ready to fly them – before summer,” De Croo said.

Besides the F-16s, De Croo also spoke on the fact that Belgium often cannot publicly announce what exactly the country delivers to Ukraine, as to not give Russia an exact idea of what is being delivered.

He did note, however, that an unspecified amount of artillery shells are being delivered to Ukraine as of this moment. This is the result of his visit to Kyiv in February of this year, where the Belgian PM announced that his country would take 200 million Euros from frozen Russian assets to fund artillery shells for Ukraine.

Russian interference in the EU

De Croo also spoke on the matter of Russian interference in the European Parliament, to which he added that monitoring is going to take place on a weekly basis.

The decision comes after Czech and Polish authorities uncovered what they said is a pro-Russian influence operation in Europe allegedly involving members of the European Parliament and candidates for June’s EU elections, and after Belgium uncovered Russian influence groups meddling in European elections.

The temporary crisis taskforce will be set up under an Integrated Political Crises response (IPCR) arrangement, which allows the country holding the rotatory EU Council Presidency, currently Belgium, to support rapid coordination and decision-making in crises, according to Euractiv.

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