Dutch PM: Netherlands 'seriously considering' giving F-16s to Ukraine

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said at a press conference on May 26 that the Netherlands was "seriously considering" giving F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands has already committed to training Ukrainian pilots on how to operate F-16s, and "if you start training it's obvious that (sending F-16s) is something you are seriously considering," Rutte added.

The final decision rests on securing approval from the United States, the producer of the F-16 fighter jet, much like how Western allies had to seek approval from Germany for the provision of Leopard tanks.

The U.K. and the Netherlands agreed on May 17 to build a "fighter jet coalition" for Ukraine. On May 20, the U.S. also declared that it would join the initiative, as did Portugal and Denmark.

So far, Ukraine has received 14 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets from Poland and 13 from Slovakia. However, Ukraine has shown the most interest in F-16 fighter jets.

Critics argue that allies' reluctance to supply Western fighter jets and long-range missiles to Ukraine may prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.