February 1, 2023

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There are "no taboos" about supporting Ukraine, not even about the F16s

There are “no taboos” about supporting Ukraine, not even about the F16s

A fighter plane flies over a farm before landing at Volkel Airport.Photo: Freek van den Bergh / de Volkskrant

This is the first time the Cabinet has publicly speculated about the possibility, but on Friday Prime Minister Mark Rutte was quick to say that this is not an issue at the moment. “This is a very big step, bigger than tanks,” he said, adding that no such request had been received from Kyiv. The latter is disputed by The Hague insiders.

With the position that the Netherlands is ready in principle to “look into it and take serious consideration” if there is an order for the F16s, Hoekstra confirms what Prime Minister Rutte did earlier this week in Washington, and Defense Minister Ollongren in Davos and Rammstein – that the Netherlands You want to lead the way in supporting Ukraine and you also want to persuade other allies to overcome their indecision.

tanks

On Friday, Minister Ollongren announced that the Netherlands would contribute to the US-German supply of Patriot anti-aircraft systems with two launchers and a number of missiles and training. The Netherlands also joins a group of fifteen countries, including Germany, which will “investigate” the possibility of supplying modern Western tanks. Holland no longer has its own tanks, but has eighteen on lease from Germany. The Netherlands and the Czech Republic will also buy 100 vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft guns.

Although the debate over modern Western fighter aircraft to Ukraine is not currently on the agenda, one of the lessons of this war is that political calculations about what can and cannot be sent change as it passes through new phases.

fighter jet

Sjoerd Sjoerdsma (D66) is a lawyer in the room sending F-16s and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Ukraine has Game changers Necessary to protect its population, like the Patriot anti-aircraft systems, but also not only to resist but also to drive Russian forces into their country. a mixture of infantry fighting vehicles (the Netherlands has over a hundred CV90s, so.) and fighter aircraft is critical.

In theory, other coalition parties are also open to it, certainly to the most likely short-term alternative: The Netherlands gives F16s to Central European allies, for example, who then redirect the remaining MiG fighters (which Ukraine is already flying) to Ukraine. β€œThe question is not really on the table at the moment, but certainly if a few other countries are doing the same, the Netherlands could also consider such a contribution,” says Robin Breckelmans (VVD).

Prime Minister Rutte told CNN about this, also referring to the 2.5 billion euros allocated by the Netherlands to support Ukraine in 2023, that the Netherlands is in the ‘first league’ of countries supporting Kyiv, without wanting to show it off. He also said that the Netherlands is in the “top three” in terms of per capita contributions, after the United States and the United Kingdom. Until recently, the Netherlands also had to let Germany, Poland and the Baltic countries take precedence in this area, but the commitments made Last month that really changed.

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