UPDATE - F-16 jets from Denmark, Netherlands headed to Ukraine: US

UPDATE - F-16 jets from Denmark, Netherlands headed to Ukraine: US

'Those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer,' says Secretary of State Blinken

ADDS UKRAINE PRESIDENT'S REACTION

By Servet Gunerigok

WASHINGTON (AA) - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday that F-16 fighter jets are headed to Ukraine.

"Those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine continue to effectively defend itself against Russian aggression," Blinken said in remarks at the NATO Public Forum in Washington.

The jets are coming from Denmark and the Netherlands, he added.

Blinken also said that NATO is working on an "incredibly robust package," which would be unveiled in the next couple of days.

A statement from leaders of the US, the Netherlands and Denmark said the Danish and Dutch governments are in the process of donating American-made F-16s to Ukraine, with the support of the US.

"The transfer process for these F-16s is now underway, and Ukraine will be flying operational F-16s this summer. We are unable to provide additional details at this time due to operational security concerns," it said.

"We are committed to further enhancing Ukraine’s air capabilities, which will include squadrons of modern fourth generation F-16 multi-role aircraft. The coalition intends to support their sustainment and armament, as well as further associated training for pilots to enhance operational effectiveness," it added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he is "grateful to" the US, Denmark and the Netherlands for taking steps to achieve the goal of the Ukrainian people.

"This is a clear signal that Russia’s ability to terrorize Ukrainian people, cities, and communities will continue to reduce," Zelenskyy wrote X. "F-16s will also be used to bolster Ukraine’s air defense".

"F-16s bring just and lasting peace closer, demonstrating that terror must fail everywhere and at any time. Our team continues to work in Washington to reach agreements that are strengthening Ukraine's defense capabilities," he added.

The announcement comes on the margins of a three-day NATO summit in Washington to mark the alliance's 75th anniversary.

On Tuesday, Blinken and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg discussed the alliance's plans to develop a membership "bridge" for Ukraine.


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