During a Denmark speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy conveyed newfound confidence in Ukraine’s capability to end Russia’s invasion. He attributed this optimism to the forthcoming deliveries of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets. With Washington’s nod, both Denmark and the Netherlands announced their intent to supply Ukraine with the first batch of these jets. Zelenskiy addressed a large gathering outside the Danish parliament, stating, “Today, we are confident that Russia will lose this war.”
However, this decision stirred tension, with Russia cautioning that supplying these jets would only heighten the conflict, as the war is nearing its 18-month mark with Russian forces holding a significant portion of Ukraine’s land.
Russia’s Reservations and the Strategic Importance of the F-16s
Russian ambassador Vladimir Barbin expressed concerns that Denmark’s choice to provide 19 F-16 aircraft to Ukraine might escalate the ongoing conflict. Barbin accused Denmark of pushing Ukraine towards further military confrontation with Russia. Contrarily, the Ukrainian military emphasized these jets’ vital role in their counteroffensive efforts, stressing the importance of air superiority.
The Danish Defence Minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, clarified that the donated F-16s should exclusively be used within Ukraine’s borders. The total number of jets committed from Denmark stands at 19, while the Netherlands, possessing 42 F-16s, is still undecided on the total donation. Celebrating the decision, President Zelenskiy labelled it as a “breakthrough agreement,” and the Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced the initiation of training for Ukrainian pilots.