The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets after the training of Ukrainian pilots and engineers is completed, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at a meeting with the media following talks with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
"F-16 is another step to strengthen Ukraine's air defence. We will use these aircraft to keep Russian terrorists away from Ukrainian cities and villages. Mark and I have agreed on the number of F-16s that will be provided to Ukraine after the training of pilots and engineers," Zelenskyy said.
He expressed confidence that the F-16s will certainly give new energy of confidence and motivation to Ukrainian soldiers, which will translate into a new result for Ukraine and the whole of Europe.
Answering journalists' questions, Zelenskyy noted that the Netherlands was the first country to agree to provide Ukraine with F-16s after the completion of the relevant pilot training.
"I would not like to talk about the number... Mark said that we are discussing as many as 42, but we will have a conversation with our colleagues from Denmark. As Mark said, it is a joint agreement to provide the aircraft. I think it will be fair to talk about the number a little later," the president explained.
At the same time, he noted that Ukraine needs to prepare the infrastructure for the operation of F-16 aircraft, and our military will work on this.
Zelenskyy noted that, in addition to aircraft, Ukraine also needs to strengthen its air defence, especially as the autumn and winter period approaches, when energy infrastructure facilities will again become priority targets for Russian missile attacks.
The president stressed that during the full-scale invasion, Russia has already used more than 6,500 missiles and more than 3,500 attack drones, including Iranian Shaheds, against Ukraine. The vast majority of them were aimed at civilian rather than military targets.