The Netherlands allows Ukraine to use F-16s for strikes against Russia

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that Ukraine will be able to use F-16 fighter jets provided by her country to strike targets in Russia. This was reported by Politico.

Ollongren emphasized that the Netherlands would not impose restrictions on Ukraine regarding the F-16s provided in the future, as was the case with Belgium. At the time, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Kroo warned Ukraine against flying the fighter jets that Kyiv would receive from his country in Russian airspace.

“There is no Belgian-style restriction. We apply the same principle that we have applied to every other delivery of capabilities, namely, as soon as we hand them over to Ukraine, they can use them,” the Dutch Defense Minister said.

The Netherlands asks Ukraine to comply with international law and the right to self-defense

At the same time, Kajsa Ollongren emphasized that Amsterdam asks Kyiv to comply with international law and the right to self-defense, as stated in the UN Charter. 

“We only ask them to comply to international law and the right to self-defense as stated in the U.N. Charter, which means they use it to target the military goals they need to target in their self-defense,” Ollongren said.

Which states have allowed Ukraine to use its weapons to strike Russia?

On May 2, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said that Ukraine has the right to use British weapons to strike at Russian territory. In response, Russia threatened to strike at UK military facilities.

On May 26, Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson said that Ukraine could use weapons provided by Stockholm to hit targets in Russia.

On May 27, it was reported that the North Atlantic Parliamentary Assembly called on the governments of all NATO member states to allow Ukraine to use Western weapons to strike Russian targets.

On May 28, French President Emmanuel Macron said that Ukraine has the right to strike military targets in Russia. The French president stated that Ukraine should be allowed to attack certain Russian-based military sites, which themselves serve as bases for launching missiles into Ukrainian territory. Otherwise, “we tell them, ‘We’re delivering weapons to you, but you can’t defend yourselves’”, Macron stated.

Subsequently, Polish Deputy Defense Minister Cezary Tomczyk said that Poland supports Ukraine’s right to use Western weapons to strike targets in Russia.

Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Finland also gave permission to use their weapons to strike Russian military targets on Russian territory.

On May 29, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said that Canada had not set any conditions for the use of its weapons by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

On May 30, Norway said Western countries should allow Ukraine to use their weapons on Russian territory to speed up Kyiv’s victory.

On the same day, Danish Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that Ukraine would be able to use Danish F-16 fighters to strike at military targets in Russia.

On May 30, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said that his country “has no problems” with Kyiv using ammunition provided by Prague to strike at Russian territory.

It was also reported that Latvia does not impose any restrictions on the use of its weapons for strikes on Russian territory but does not discuss sending troops to Ukraine.

On May 31, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken confirmed that President Joe Biden had secretly authorized Ukraine to strike targets in Russia with U.S. weapons. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the message came from the United States and called the ally’s action a “step forward.”

On June 2, France said that since Ukraine had not initially received restrictions on the use of its Storm Shadow missiles, it could fire them at Russian territory.

How will F-16 jets protect Ukraine? 

Russia is increasingly using guided bombs against Ukrainian border towns. The planes do not fly close to the border and bomb civilians from a safe distance with impunity. 

Ukrainian Armed Forces will only have a way to counter such tactics once they receive F-16 universal combat aircraft from the West. 

Although they will not be a panacea for all Russian air attacks, they can close many gaps in the defence of Ukrainian skies. Ukraine insists that the main guarantee of safe skies is modern Western aircraft. The F-16 provision is a quick and effective solution.

The range of tasks that F-16 jets will perform in Ukraine is also quite wide. First, it will strengthen Ukraine’s air defence, as the F16 is an ideal hunter for Russian combat drones.

Secondly, the long-range missiles used on F-16s will help the Ukrainian Army to destroy Russian equipment and logistics. The war is far from over, and in early 2024, the renewed Ukrainian Air Force may surprise the Russians, ending their superiority in the air.

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