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Belgium PM: Ukraine to receive 30 F-16s, can use them only within Ukraine

Belgium announces delivery of 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by 2028, with initial aircraft arriving this year. Belgian Prime Minister De Croo says the jets must be used exclusively on Ukrainian soil.
Danish Army's F-16 fighter jets.
Danish Army’s F-16 fighter jets. Photo: Denmark’s Defense Ministry
Belgium PM: Ukraine to receive 30 F-16s, can use them only within Ukraine

On 28 May, Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib announced that Belgium will send 30 F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine by 2028, with the first batch arriving “by the end of this year,” according to Newsweek. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the security agreement signed by Ukraine and Belgium today, specifies that the 30 Belgian F-16s “will be delivered to Ukraine until 2028.” Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo noted that his country will do “everything in our capacity to deliver some planes already this year,” but said Ukraine can use the fighters only on its territory.

In October 2023, the government of Belgium committed to supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets starting in 2025. Other countries pledging to transfer the F-16s to Ukraine are Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. Kyiv has been urgently requesting more advanced jets to strengthen its air force against Russia’s larger and more technologically advanced fleet.

Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo noted that Ukraine can use the Belgian-supplied fighter jets only within Ukraine:

As I said, everything which is covered by this agreement is military material, military equipment that is to be used by the Ukrainian Defense Forces, it is to be used on the Ukrainian territory,” De Croo said during his press conference with Zelenskyy in Brussels today.

Zelenskyy visits Brussels to ink security deals and tour pilot training site for Ukraine’s F-16 pilots

According to FT, Belgium’s commitment increases the total number of F-16s promised to Ukraine by NATO allies, including Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands, to about 80.

Earlier this month, Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine needs between 120 and 130 F-16s to effectively counter Russia’s air capabilities.

Most of Ukraine’s allies prohibit the use of their supplied weapons for targeting Russian territory.

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