The Dutch and Danish governments are also involved in a coalition that is working to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the advanced fighter jets.
The Danish foreign ministry has confirmed that the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine will occur when conditions have been met. The conditions include successfully selecting, testing and training Ukrainian personnel.
Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said Friday that the training of Ukrainian pilots is starting this month. Officials have previously said that Ukrainian pilots will need six to eight months of training.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the decision by the Netherlands to hand over F-16 planes to Kyiv to help it battle the Russian invasion as “historic”.
“The third point for today is absolutely historic, powerful and inspiring for us,” Zelensky said at a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at an air base in Eindhoven. “This is another step towards strengthening Ukraine’s air shield.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said said the Netherlands has 42 of the jets, but said some will be needed for training purposes.
F-16 training has begun
Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said training had begun for Ukrainians to operate F-16’s, but added it would take at least six months and possibly longer to also train engineers and mechanics.
Training will take place in Denmark and Romania, officials from a coalition of 11 nations have said.
Ukraine, which expects several dozens of pilots to be trained, said last week it did not expect to be able to use F-16’s this autumn or winter.