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Dutch endorse Ukraine using F-16s in Russian airspace for self-protection

The Netherlands says it won’t object to Ukraine using F-16 fighter jets over Russian territory for self-defense purposes, citing the UN Charter’s principle of self-defense.
Netherlands pledges €350 million to Ukraine for F-16 munitions and drones
US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons flying in formation. Photo: Tom Reynolds/US Air Force
Dutch endorse Ukraine using F-16s in Russian airspace for self-protection

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.

The 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.

Last fall, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands committed to supplying Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets starting in 2025. Currently, the total number of pledged F-16s is about 80. Kyiv has been urgently requesting more advanced jets to strengthen its air force against Russia’s larger and more technologically advanced fleet. At the same time, some Ukrainian allies, including the US, impose restrictions on the weapons they supply, stipulating that they must only be used within Ukraine and not for targeting Russian territory.

If you have the right to self-defense, there are no limits to the use of weapons… This is a general principle,” said the Dutch foreign minister, whose country, along with Denmark and Belgium, leads the so-called F-16 coalition for Ukraine.

Bruins Slot emphasized that the use of Western aviation over Russian territory is permitted for Ukraine under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which outlines the right to self-defense. She added that the Netherlands is heavily engaged in negotiations with the United States to ensure the availability of F-16s for Ukraine and is ready to do everything possible to allow the jets to fly in Ukrainian skies as soon as possible.

Ukrainian pilots and ground technical personnel are currently training on F-16 fighter jets. The first F-16s are expected to arrive in Ukraine this summer, according to international media reports and statements from Ukrainian officials.

Earlier, Denmark has also expressed a similar stance, with 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.

However, 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.

Correction: The wrong name was edited in the text of the article.

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